WASHINGTON — Russia’s war in Ukraine has left more than 100,000 of Moscow’s troops dead or wounded, and Ukraine has probably suffered a similar number of casualties, the United States’ most senior general said this week.
“You’re looking at well over 100,000 Russian soldiers killed and wounded,” Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in remarks at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday. “Same thing probably on the Ukrainian side.”
General Milley said that Russia’s invasion had also killed about 40,000 Ukrainian civilians and displaced 15 million to 30 million.
That’s “a lot of human suffering,” he said.
He 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. However, the prevailing U.S. opinion is that the two countries are far from such talks.
General Milley referred to a favorite historical lesson that he often says should have been learned from World War I, when European powers’ refusal to negotiate compounded the human suffering and led to millions more dead.
“Seize the moment,” he said.
The combined 200,000-plus military casualty estimate is the highest that American officials have provided since the war began in February. In August, Pentagon officials estimated that 70,000 to 80,000 Russians had been killed or wounded, and said they had used satellite imagery, communication intercepts, social media and on-the-ground media reports to arrive at that figure.
The new, higher count means that, in just nine months, Russia’s casualties have surpassed those of America’s 20-year engagement in Afghanistan.
General Milley’s comments came on the same day that Russia announced that it was withdrawing its besieged troops from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, a move widely interpreted as an acknowledgment that Ukraine has come close to penning those troops in north of the Dnipro River with dwindling means of escape.