The top US military official said Russia will not achieve a military victory in Ukraine and it is unlikely that Russian forces will drive all Russian forces from its territory anytime soon.
This war, militarily, is not going to be won by Russia. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday.
Milley told reporters after wrapping up a virtual meeting of dozens of member states of Ukraine’s Defense Contact Group, also known as Rammstein, that Russia’s original strategic goals, including toppling the government in Kiev, “cannot be achieved militarily.” group.
There are also hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, Milley said, making Kiev’s goal of regaining all the territory lost to Moscow’s forces unlikely “in the near term”.
“This means that the fighting will continue, it will be bloody, and it will be difficult. At some point, the two sides will either negotiate a settlement or reach a military outcome.
Milley’s assessment adds to a number of predictions that the war in Ukraine appears to be dragging on, with neither side poised to win a clear victory and no negotiations currently taking place.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a key ally of President Vladimir Putin, said Moscow’s war in Ukraine could drag on for decades.
According to remarks published by RIA news agency on Thursday, Medvedev described an ongoing conflict that includes years of fighting with Ukraine, interspersed with several years of truces before fighting resumes.
The Russian Information Agency quoted Medvedev as saying during a visit to Vietnam: “This conflict will continue for a very long time, most likely for decades.”
“As long as there is such a force in place [in Kyiv]”There will be, for example, three years of armistice, two years of conflict, and everything will repeat,” said Medvedev, now the deputy head of Putin’s powerful Security Council.
Medvedev, who is known for regularly making hawkish comments about Ukraine and those considered Moscow’s enemies, said earlier this year that a Russia defeat could lead to nuclear war.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington continue to escalate as the US leads the push for international support and military aid to Ukraine, including coordinating arms supplies from dozens of countries. In an apparent policy shift, the United States announced last week that it would support the granting of advanced American F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Thursday’s news conference that Ukraine’s supporters have provided nearly $65 billion in security assistance to the country.
no “magic weapons”
On Thursday, Kiev supporters discussed “plans to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets, including the F-16,” Austin said, speaking alongside Milley, noting that “planning and carrying out this training will be a big undertaking.”
Austin said the Dutch and Danish defense ministers are working with the United States on fighter jet training for Ukraine and that Norway, Belgium, Portugal and Poland have already offered to contribute to the initiative.
In addition, he said, the Allies would establish a fund so that other nations could contribute to the overall effort.
Commenting on the F-16 fighters, Milley warned that they will not be the “magic weapon”.
“There are no magic weapons” — no F-16s or other weapons, he said, noting that 10 F-16s could cost $2 billion, including maintenance.
“The Russians have a thousand fourth and fifth generation fighters, so if you are going to compete with Russia in the air, you will need a large amount of fourth and fifth generation fighters,” he said.
The F-16s will play a future role as part of Ukraine’s air capabilities, but “it will take a long time to build up an air force of the size, scale and scope that will be necessary”.
He said air defense systems remain the weapons Ukraine desperately needs in the broader effort to control airspace.
Two officials told Reuters news agency that the United States is preparing to announce additional military aid of up to $300 million to Ukraine, consisting mainly of ammunition. The package is expected to contain more Guided Multiple Launch Rockets (GMLRS) for HIMARS launchers as well as other ammunition.
That said the Institute for the Study of War, a think tank based in Washington, DC A “long war” is not Russia’s goal But it is a way of coping with the situation in Ukraine after the failure of her plan for a quick victory. The institute said that Russia’s ability to sustain an extended military campaign in Ukraine is not guaranteed, while the “long war” will allow Russia the time and space it needs to rebuild its military forces.
“Ukrainian counterattacks will deny the Kremlin a break to replenish its resources, further deplete Russia’s offensive potential, and ultimately enable Ukrainian forces to drive Russia out of Ukraine,” the ISW said.
The Kremlin’s narrative of the “long war” reflects Putin’s intent to rebuild Russia’s large-scale combat capability. But it is also an information operation aimed at distancing the West from Ukraine. This media operation builds on previous Russian efforts, such as narratives of cease-fires and nuclear blackmail.