“There has been great suffering,” Milly said.
The Pentagon did not elaborate on the death toll and The Washington Post could not independently verify it. The last official figure released by Russia’s Defense Ministry in September put the Russian death toll at 5,937 — a figure that military experts and Western officials say is a much lower estimate of the country’s losses.
Ukraine has not released any details of the damage to its own troops. President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with CNN earlier this week that Russia’s death rate is ten times higher than Ukraine’s.
Officials in Kyiv denied Milli’s assessment on Thursday. “We have losses, every life lost is a tragedy,” said Yuri Zak, an adviser to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. “But we have fewer casualties because we don’t use meat grinder tactics, and our priority is to save the lives of soldiers.”
Nevertheless, Pentagon figures point to the ferocity of the battles lurking along the vast, 1000-mile front line around Ukraine’s eastern edges. Most of the fighting is fought from World War I-style trenches, in which soldiers dug into mud forts withstand relentless artillery bombardment until forced to retreat.
Casualty estimates suggest that an average of 769 soldiers were killed or wounded each day during the 260-day war.
According to Defense Department figures, the losses on each side are more than double the 60,000 Americans killed or wounded in the 20-year war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than double the 50,000 dead and wounded. Annual war in Afghanistan.
Nearly 70,000 Afghan soldiers and 50,000 civilians have died in two decades of fighting with the US-backed coalition. However, those numbers are dwarfed by Ukraine’s statistics.
Other recent wars have been bloodier – but over a long period of time, and civilians have borne the brunt of the suffering. In Syria, the United Nations estimates that 400,000 people died in the first five years of the war, most of them non-combatants.
Russia announced on Wednesday that it was withdrawing from Kherson and Milli suggested that winter’s approach might offer an opportunity for negotiations. The Biden administration and other Western allies have been trying recently Push Ukraine Negotiate with Russia.
During the winter months, when temperatures in Ukraine routinely drop below freezing, a pause in fighting as Russia tries to regroup and reorganize presents a “window of opportunity for negotiations.”
“Military victory is probably, in the true sense of the word, unattainable by military means, so you have to turn to other means,” he added.
But Ukraine’s recent victories include Kharkiv in the northeast in September and now Gerson The South is in no mood to negotiate with Kiev. Ukrainian officials have said they believe they can achieve complete military victory over Russia on the battlefield, and Zelensky has set preconditions for the talks, including Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukrainian territory and a promise to pay reparations — conditions Russia has never accepted.
Milley said the US will continue to support Ukraine until its demands are met. “The United States will continue to support Ukraine and its struggle for independence,” he said. “If negotiations happen, great. If they don’t, they’ll continue to struggle in the spring.
The Kremlin has also signaled it Open to talkBut its own preconditions conflict with Ukraine’s: then Russia illegally annexed four territories of Ukraine, Putin said The “only way to peace” is for Ukraine and the West to recognize that the people of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporozhye “have become our citizens forever”.
Despite their vast differences, Milley said both sides wanted to end the fighting.
“When peace can be reached, seize it,” he said said. “You stole the moment.”
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