General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned on Tuesday of a “prolonged conflict” in Ukraine that could take years to end.
“I think NATO, the United States, Ukraine and all the allies and allies that support Ukraine are going to be involved for some time,” Milley, top US military official, told the House Armed Services Committee. Testified before. ,
Milley was included in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s first testimony to Congress since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The hearing was to focus on the 2023 defense budget request, but the latest developments in Ukraine took center stage.
Russia’s invasion, which has forced more than 4 million people to flee their country, threatens peace in Europe and the world, Milley said, pointing to shifting global power dynamics.
“We now face two global powers: China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, both intent on fundamentally changing the existing rules-based global order,” he said. . “We are entering a world that is becoming more unstable and the potential for significant international conflict is increasing, not decreasing.”
Milley dismissed suggestions that the US could have done more to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from attacking in the first place.
“Of course, despite the commitment of US military forces in Ukraine, I’m not sure he was bad,” Milley said. “It has been a long-term objective of his that goes back years.”
As countries in Eastern Europe become increasingly concerned that they may be next on Putin’s target list, Milley supported the idea of establishing permanent US military bases in the region. But he said the military should move around to limit the costs associated with permanent military deployment, which also include families and schools. He said US allies in a region like Poland would be willing to help with the payments.
Austin said NATO is assessing how to increase its presence in Eastern Europe to respond to changes in the region’s “security framework”.
“If NATO feels it is appropriate to change its footprint, we will certainly be part of it,” Austin said. “Our goal is to ensure that we continue to reassure our allies and partners, especially those on the East Coast.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that the war was entering a critical phase.
“Moscow is not giving up on its ambitions in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said during a news conference ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers this week. “In the coming weeks, we expect another Russian push into eastern and southern Ukraine to attempt to build a land bridge to take the entire Donbass and annex Crimea.”
Reports of atrocities perpetrated by Russian troops in Buka have shocked the world, prompting the White House on Wednesday to impose further sanctions in conjunction with allies blocking all new investment in Russia.
“The goal is to force them to make a choice,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “The biggest part of our objective here is to exhaust the resources Putin has to continue his war against Ukraine.”