Gen. Mark Milley, who is the the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Tuesday told the House Armed Services Committee that he expects the conflict in Ukraine to last for years.
“I do think this is a very protracted conflict, and I think it’s measured in years. I don’t know about decade, but at least years for sure,” Milley said while giving testimony on the defense budget request.
“This is a very extended conflict that Russia has initiated and I think that NATO, the United States, Ukraine and all of the allies and partners supporting Ukraine will be involved in this for quite some time,” he continued.
Milley also called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “the greatest threat to peace and security of Europe and perhaps the world” in his 42 years in the military.
Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin appeared before the committee for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine in February and as Russia is refocusing on eastern Ukraine.
The Pentagon has seen about two-thirds of the less than 20 Russian battalion tactical groups that were arrayed against Kyiv reposition north toward Belarus, according to a U.S. senior defense official. Their assessment is that Russia will refit, resupply, and potentially reinforce them with additional manpower before sending the units back into Ukraine
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a White House press briefing Monday that the next phase of the war in Ukraine “may very well be protracted” and if the Russians do achieve some success in the Donbas region, the forces could try to take other areas of Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted questions about the U.S. force posture in Europe. Milley said Tuesday the posture of the U.S. is still being decided but because of the war in Ukraine, it’s likely there will be an increased presence of U.S. troops in the region long term.
“My advice would be to create permanent bases but don’t permanently station, so you get the effect of permanence by rotational forces cycling through permanent bases,” Milley said.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEWSER.COM