By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left around 100,000 Russian troops and 100,000 Ukrainian forces dead or wounded, the United States’ most senior general said in comments published Thursday.
“You’re looking at well over 100,000 Russian soldiers killed and wounded,” General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in remarks at the Economic Club of New York. “Same thing, probably on the Ukrainian side.”
The top general added that Europe’s largest armed conflict since World War Two had also killed about 40,000 Ukrainian civilians and displaced 15 million to 30 million people.
His estimates are the highest casualty figures offered yet by a Western official. That’s “a lot of human suffering,” General Milley stressed.
Both sides have given far lower causality figures in an apparent effort to limit public outrage.
Moscow’s last update in September said that just 5,937 troops had been killed since the start of the conflict, with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu dismissing reports of a significantly higher death toll.
General Milley’s estimate is far higher after a well-informed U.S. security official told Worthy News earlier this year that tens of thousands of Russian forces had been killed.
By comparison, 15,000 Soviet soldiers were estimated to have died in the 1979-1989 Afghanistan conflict.
The new, higher count also means that, in just nine months, Russia’s casualties surpassed those of America’s 20-year engagement in Afghanistan, which ended chaotically last year.
Ukraine has refrained mainly from giving casualty figures. But in August, the armed forces’ commander-in-chief, Valeriy Zaluzhniy, was quoted in Ukrainian media saying 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers had died so far.
The United Nations has said it does not consider figures released by those involved in the war reliable.
His comments came while Russia began withdrawing its besieged troops from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine. However, critical bridges and roads were reportedly laden with explosives to slow the Ukrainian advance.
The Russian withdrawal was widely interpreted as an acknowledgment that Ukraine had come close to penning those troops north of the Dnipro River with dwindling means of escape.
General Milley described the coming cold months, when many military experts expect a lull in the fighting, as an opportunity for both sides to consider peace talks.
He referred to World War I when European powers’ refusal to negotiate compounded human suffering and led to millions more dead.
“Seize the moment,” he said.
It followed reports that the U.S. has been urging Ukraine to use a “window of opportunity” for peace talks to end the war as world leaders prepare for a showdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian leader was due to attend next week’s Group of 20 (G20) summit in Bali, Indonesia.
The G20, the intergovernmental forum of 19 countries and the European Union, is regularly meeting to address issues related to the global economy. Still, the war in Ukraine was due to overshadow the gathering.
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