Full Ukrainian victory over Russia unlikely, warns top US general

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley gives rare press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, cautioning Russia still had significant combat power.


16 November 2022 •

The US’ top general played down the odds of any near-term military victory by Ukraine, in a rare assessment of the war on Wednesday, cautioning that Russia still had significant combat power despite recent setbacks.

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it is unlikely that Kyiv can militarily force Russia out of all of the territory it occupies, in a Pentagon press conference.

“The probability of a Ukrainian military victory – defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they claim as Crimea – the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high, militarily,” Gen. Milley said.

“Politically, there may be a political solution where, politically, the Russians withdraw. That’s possible,” he added, saying Russia “right now is on its back.”

Family members grieve during the funeral at Bucha City Cemetery of 44 year old Maksym Kropyva
Family members grieve during the funeral at Bucha City Cemetery of Maksym Kropyva CREDIT: Getty

However, he also acknowledged that Moscow is “hurting bad” and will likely struggle through the cold weather in the coming months, when operations “naturally slow down”.

Russia is “imposing a campaign of terror, a campaign of maximum suffering on the Ukrainian civilian population in order to defeat Ukrainian morale,” Gen. Milley said.

Many of the recent strikes – including a barrage of dozens of missiles across Ukraine on Tuesday – have targeted the country’s energy infrastructure.

Gen. Milley said he attempted to call his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valeriy Gerasimov, to avoid escalation over the missile in Ukraine, but his staff were “unsuccessful” in getting through.

Moscow’s attacks on civilian infrastructure – which Gen. Milley said are likely to increase suffering this winter – came after a string of Russian failures to achieve its military objectives in Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Poland following a meeting with G7 and European leaders
US President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Poland following a meeting with G7 and European leaders CREDIT: AFP

“The Ukrainians have achieved success after success after success. And the Russians have failed every single time. They’ve lost strategically, they’ve lost operationally, and I repeat, they lost tactically,” the general said.

He called Russia’s invasion “one of the most significant attempts to destroy the rules-based order that World War Two was fought all about.”

Gen. Milley said the US and its allies will continue to support Ukraine for as long as is needed for Ukraine to be “free, sovereign and independent with its territory intact.”

Ian Bremmer, president and founder of global political risk firm Eurasia Group, tweeted on Wednesday, “The US government is now saying out loud what everyone has been saying privately for months: the complete removal of Russian troops from Ukraine territory (read particularly: Crimea) is extremely unlikely.

“At some point negotiations are the best option. Ultimately, negotiations have no chance of succeeding unless the Nato alliance stays together and Ukraine is in a strong military position,” Mr Bremmer said.


  1. A comment from a DT reader; Shchehlov Mykyta, in Ukraine:

    “Greetings from Ukraine.
    As a person who follows what is being said in russian propaganda and what their captives say in the interviews to our journalists I can say that their moral spirit is at the very low point. Skabeeva (one of their main propagandists) herself has said that their army is “small” and is not ready for “such a grandiose war”.
    And apart from that the liberation of Kherson is a huge, three times huge hit in the face for them and their propaganda after they had recognised it as their territory (officially). It’s a real humiliation.
    So to be honest I don’t think it’s so unlikely.
    Their missiles’ attacks and subsequent absence of electricity obviously make our life more difficult but our spirit and moral remains unchanged. As Zelensky said and quite rightly (to russians): “Without electricity or without you? Without you! Without gas or without you? Without you!”

    Liked by 5 people

  2. A kremtroll calling itself “John Smith”, writes :

    “Now getting to the stage where the West is losing motivation, and, thankfully, not going to keep upgrading weapons tech for fear for all our futures.
    Putin does not want to conquer Europe, he might like but would be willing to accept a relatively pro-Western but not Nato joining Ukraine
    May not be palatable but is inevitable, the Donbass becomes Russia ( which most of the population there support ) – clearly Russias claim to Crimea is solid anyway, we have peace and move on.”

    People like Milley are giving heart to putler and the kremtroll army,

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I’m no fan of Mark Milley. He thinks and speaks like a politician and not like a general. Certainly, he must’ve been out eating ice cream with Biden as Ukraine achieved one victory after another. He is still underestimating the UA forces and the Ukrainian people, and overestimates the mafia army.
    Full military victory can and will be achieved by Ukraine.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Milley is a political general and not all competent. And, no, he is not paying attention to what is happening in Ukraine, or the thinking of Putin, who has revealed what he is after. If Putin manages a win in Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltics, Poland and Romania are in danger. Milley is willfully ignorant, just like Putin worshippers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A reply to Shchehlov Mykyta from
    Anthony Lustigman :

    “Good luck to you. General Milley completely underestimated Ukraine’s ability to retake Kherson so I don’t take much notice of anything else he says.
    Let him fight from his armchair.”

    Liked by 4 people

  5. M. Swain comments :

    “Unlikely’, this word means nothing.
    Russia was unlikely to invade Ukraine so if anything unlikely now means definitely.
    Crimea is not difficult to attack and we all know how ‘unlikely’ the Russian cowards are to retreat…”

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Comment from Aminul Islam:

    “The West can cripple Russia financially. It will take time. But this is the best way to bring them down.
    Russia must not be allowed any respite until its demise – for what it has been doing against the world for so many years.”

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Jonathan Karmi comments:

    “I’m massively unimpressed by this Mark Milley geezer. No backbone at all. I wonder how on earth he rose to his current exalted position. But I suppose Trump and Biden both became President, so maybe there’s something not quite right in America’s drinking water.”

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Comment from Michael Joseph Wimbs:

    ““Unless the NATO alliance stays together” is a very significant way for Mr Bremmer to put the issue, hinting as it does that Tsar Vladimir has good reason to suppose that MicroN & Scholz — whose predecessors’ self-interest in vetoing Ukraine’s Candidacy for NATO emboldened Putin to plan the Conquest of Ukraine — have an investment of decades in their Nations’ failed policy of Ostpolitik Appeasement of, and collaboration with, Russia, who has yet to honour the Peace Treaty Merkel and Sarkozy forced Georgia to capitulate to.
    In France’s “le Figaro” last week it was commented proudly that French military aircraft are not subjected to the same dangerous harassment by Communist Chinese jets as Australian ,Canadian and British surveillance planes: “because we are independent of the US.”
    Prior to Putin’s invasion, Germany and France publicly poured scorn on “Anglo-American alarmism”, and they are currently mocking “Anglo-American jusq’au boutisme”, ie our wanting to support Ukraine to a successful conclusion..
    Equally the extraordinary delay in the Commission transferring vital promised aid funds to Kyiv — donated by the Member-States — appears to be another way Scholz and MicroN are aiding Putin by pressuring Zelensky. to submit to Putin’s territorial seizures.
    Germany & France have been seduced by Putin, and also wish to cover-up their Ostpolitik’s failure, by appearing to seize the global initiative as apparent Mediators.
    The rest of Democratic Europe is going to have to call-out The Strong Couple’s — and their Commission minions’ —two-faced ambivalence sooner rather than later….?”

    Liked by 4 people

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