NEW YORK — The war in Ukraine has resulted in more than 100,000 people killed and injured in Russia and may account for the same number of victims in the country under attack, according to US Chief of Staff Mark Milley.
The senior US military presented these figures Wednesday night while attending an event for the Economic Club of New York, which picks up the CNN network.
“You see there are over 100,000 dead and wounded Russian soldiers,” he said at one point in his speech. “Maybe the same on the Ukrainian side.”
According to the Kyiv government, the number of Russian soldiers killed since the invasion began is more than 75,000, a number not confirmed by Moscow authorities.
General Mark Milley called the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “tremendous strategic mistake” that the country would pay for “for years and years”.
Milley said the war has caused enormous amounts of human suffering, killing between 15 and 30 million refugees and about 40,000 innocent Ukrainian civilians, according to the US network.
The general said there could be a window of opportunity to negotiate an end to the conflict that began on 24 February, as long as the forward lines stabilize during this winter (from December in Europe).
“When there is an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it,” suggested Milley: “Seize the moment.”
He was the founder of the city of Kherson and lover of Catherine the Great.
But should the talks never materialize or fail, Milley said the United States would continue to arm Ukraine, even as an outright military victory for both sides looked unlikely.
“There must be a mutual recognition that military victory, in the true sense of the word, cannot be achieved through military means, and therefore it is necessary to resort to other means,” he said.
Milley also said the United States was seeing early signs that Russia was withdrawing from Kherson, as Moscow announced on Wednesday.
But he warned that the withdrawal of 20,000 to 30,000 Russian troops from the west bank of the Dnieper River, which went east through Kherson, could take days or even weeks.
“I think (the Russians) are doing this to re-establish defensive lines south of the river, to maintain their strength, but that remains to be seen,” the US chief of staff insisted.