U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said in an interview with Defense One that Ukraine is unlikely to expel all Russian troops from its territory this year.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said numerous times that Ukraine’s goal is to rid Russia’s presence from its entire country. “The main goal is de-occupation. We just cannot allow Russia to continue the same occupation that they started back in 2014,” Zelensky said in an interview to CNN in late 2022.
“Zelensky has publicly stated many times that the Ukrainian objective is to kick every Russian out of Russian occupied Ukraine," Milley was quoted as saying. "And that is a significant military task. Very, very difficult military task. You're looking at a couple hundred thousand Russians who are still in Russian-occupied Ukraine."
Despite neither Ukraine nor Russia showing signs of wanting to negotiage, Milley told the Financial Times on Feb. 16. that it is likely the war will end at the negotiating table. This was not the first time that Milley has said the war will end with negotiations.
In November 2022, he raised the ire of Ukrainian officials when he said that the Ukrainians should use Russian losses to their advantage to negotiate a peace settlement.He later clarified his statements, adding that it was “up to Ukraine to decide how or when or if they will negotiate with the Russians."
Speaking about Ukraine's victory perspectives, Milley added: "I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm just saying it's a very difficult task.”