Top US general says it will be really hard and cost a lot of ‘blood and treasure’ for Ukraine to ‘kick out every single Russian’ invader

  • The top US general believes Russia’s war in Ukraine will likely end at the negotiating table.
  • It’ll cost Ukraine a lot of “blood and treasure” and be really difficult to expel all the invading Russians, he said. 
  • Gen. Mark Milley’s comments come amid a floundering Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine. 

Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine is unlikely to end on the battlefield and will instead come to a conclusion at a negotiating table, the top US general predicts.  

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said he believes that neither Russia, nor Ukraine, will likely be able to achieve their objectives through military power. The highest-ranking US military officer recently told the Eurasia Group Foundation in a podcast that he believes diplomats from various countries will be the ones to eventually put an end to the fighting. 

“At some point people will figure out that the cost of continuing to execute this war through military means is extraordinarily challenging. It doesn’t mean it can’t be done. And I applaud the Ukrainian will and their courage and their resilience,” Milley said on the podcast, which was released on Tuesday, according to a transcript of his remarks. 

“But there’s also the practical matter of being able to physically kick out every single Russian out of all of Ukraine,” he continued. “That’s really hard to do militarily, and it’s an enormous cost in blood and treasure.” And because of this, “someone’s going to figure out how to get to a negotiating table, and that’s where this thing will get settled out eventually.”

Ukrainian soldiers look on in the frontline close to Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.

Ukrainian soldiers look on in the frontline close to Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.

AP Photo/Libkos

Milley’s remarks in the podcast echo similar assessments he’s made during the course of the 13-month-long war. The general has expressed concern over the difficulty for Kyiv to completely push Russian forces out of occupied territories and expressed his belief that negotiations will determine the outcome.

Several governments, such as Turkey, have pushed for peace talks between the two sides. One such attempt in recent weeks came from China, which offered a peace proposal that the White House said favored Russia.

Meanwhile, casualties for both militaries continue to mount as the war remains centered along an expansive front in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Moscow has launched a much-anticipated spring offensive, advancing in several directions and committing hundreds of thousands of troops to the campaign. So far, however, the efforts have produced very little success, and war experts say this has positioned Ukraine to be able to carry out counteroffensive operations of its own in the near future. 

Ukraine has been facing the daunting task of weathering Russia’s assault, absorbing hits from its numerically superior force, and preventing the Russians from making territorial gains long enough to receive a critical influx of advanced and modern Western weapons, such as tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and artillery systems.