WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — Russia’s announcement of the withdrawal of Kherson, a regional capital in southern Ukraine that it seized in the first weeks of the war, and a possible lull in fighting over the winter, should give the two countries an opportunity to negotiate peace. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said this on Wednesday.
He said some 40,000 Ukrainian civilians and more than 100,000 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded during the nine-month conflict. “It’s probably the same on the Ukrainian side,” Miley said.
“There has been a tremendous amount of human suffering,” he told The Economic Club of New York.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday he was open to peace talks with Russia to end the war, but only on condition that Moscow return all occupied Ukrainian territories, compensation for war losses. and be prosecuted for war crimes.
Russia has said it is open to talks, and announced this week that it had begun a withdrawal from Kherson.
Zelensky warns that the Russians are simulating a withdrawal from Kherson to draw Ukrainian forces into trench warfare in the port city, the gateway to the Crimean peninsula, which was occupied by Russia in 2014.
Milley, the highest-ranking US military official, said Russia has 20,000 to 30,000 elements in Gerson and a total withdrawal could take weeks.
“There are early indicators that they are indeed doing this. They made a public announcement that they would. I think they (Dnieper) do this in order to preserve their army, to re-establish defensive lines south of the river do, but that remains to be seen.”
Milley left open the possibility that Russia would use the withdrawal to rebuild its forces for an offensive in the spring, but “there is also an opportunity here, an opportunity to negotiate.”
But for talks to have a chance, both Russia and Ukraine would have to come to a “mutual acknowledgment” that a victory “may not be possible by military means, and therefore has to resort to other means,” Miley said. . Give the example of the First World War.