Russia's chances of conquering Ukraine 'close to zero' says expert
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The likelihood of Russian forces retaking the whole of Ukraine is null, Army General Mark Milley said in a blow to Vladimir Putin’s war ambitions. Russian troops have lost full control of the four Ukrainian provinces Vladimir Putin said he annexed, with soldiers ordered to retreat from the southern Kherson province. However, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff warned Ukrainian forces face an uphill battle to push the remaining Russian troops out of their country.
At press conference in the US Pentagon briefing room, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said: “The probability of Russia achieving its strategic objectives of conquering Ukraine and overruning Ukraine is close to zero.
“I suppose theoritically it’s possible. Maybe, I guess. But don’t see it happening militarily.
“But they do currently occupy about 20 percent of Ukraine. So they occupy a piece of land that’s about 900 kilometres long and probably about 75-80 kilometres deep.
“So it’s not small piece of ground.”
Though Russian forces suffered high losses on the battlefield, they still have considerable manpower on Ukrainian soil.
General Milley said: “And they invaded this country with about 70-80,000 troops in multiple field armies and combined armed armies. And they have suffered a tremendous amount of casualties.
“But the Russians have reinforced, they still have significant Russian combat power inside Ukraine.
“Now Ukraine is a great success in the defence. They did a tremendous job in defeating the Russian offensive. It’s incredible what they’re able to do.
“And then, they went on the offensive at the beginning of September and they had great successes up in Kharkiv and they’ve had even better success in Kherson.”
General Milley continued: “But Kherson and Kharkiv physically, geographically, are relatively small compared to the whole. So the military task of militarily kicking the Russians physically out of Ukraine is a very difficult task.
“And it’s not going to happen in the next couple of weeks unless the Russian army completely collapses, which is unlikely.
“The probability of a Ukrainian military victory defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they claim is Crimea is not high – militarily.
“Politically, there may be a solution or politically, the Russian withdraw. That’s possible. You want to negotiate from a position of strength. Russian right now is on its back. The Russian military is suffering tremendously.”
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Despite significant advances into the four annexed regions, Ukrainian troops could still face Russian attacks in the East. According to the latest intelligence issued by the British Ministry of Defence, the Kremlin will try to move its troops from Kherson further east to reinforce position in the Donetsk province.
It said: “It is likely attempt to eventually redeploy some of the forces recovered from Kherson to reinforce and expand its offensive operations near the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.”
Russian troops are also setting up trench systems near the border of Crimea and near the Siversky-Donetsk river between Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in anticipation of major Ukrainian breakthroughs.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has laid out a 10-point plan for peace, which includes the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and an “all for all” prisoner swap.
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