- Milley said Friday that Russia had suffered “significantly more than” 100,000 casualties in Ukraine.
- This marked a slight update from the image Milley offered in November.
- Milley called on Putin to end the war, saying it had become an “absolute disaster” for Moscow.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said on Friday that Russia had “really suffered a lot” in Ukraine and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war.
“Russian losses — the last time I reported on this publicly I said it was over 100,000. I would say it’s well over 100,000 now,” Milley said at a news conference alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Germany, giving a slight The estimate is an update on the figure that a top US general offered in November.
Milley said the “huge amount of casualties” suffered by Russia included “the regular army as well as their mercenaries in the Wagner Group and other types of forces fighting the Russians.”
“Putin could end this war today,” Milley said, “it’s turning into an absolute disaster for Russia.”
“Ukraine has also suffered tremendously,” Milley added. “You know there is a significant amount of innocent civilians who have been killed as a result of Russian actions. The Russians are hitting civilian infrastructure. There is a significant amount of economic damage, a significant amount of energy infrastructure damage and the Ukrainian military itself has suffered significant losses.”
“This is a very, very bloody war and there are significant casualties on both sides,” Milley said, adding that “sooner or later” there will have to be negotiations to bring the conflict to an end.
Russia has shown no signs of taking steps to end the war, despite facing repeated major setbacks. Ukraine has also warned that Russia appears to be preparing for another offensive, while Kyiv is calling on the West to provide more weapons – particularly tanks – possibly for its own offensive.
But NATO countries are at an impasse over sending main battle tanks, particularly German-made Leopards, to Ukraine, with Western defense chiefs failing to reach an agreement on the issue at a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday.
The debate has largely focused on whether Germany is willing to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine or at least allow other European countries that have German-made tanks in their inventory to supply them to Ukrainian forces. Germany should give permission for Leopard tanks to be exported to other countries, but this has not happened so far.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration faces the question of whether to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. There were signs from Germany that it would not deliver Leopard tanks unless the US sent the M1, but the Pentagon rejected this, arguing that there was no point in sending Abrams to Ukraine because the cost was too high and training and maintenance too complicated.
On Friday, Austin disputed the claim that the Abrams and Leopards decisions were tied together. However, in an update on the situation, he said there was no announcement on whether the US would change its position on the M1 and noted that Germany, which he called a “reliable ally,” “has not made a decision on the Leopards.”