by Countercurrents Collective — 25/03/2023
The Russia-Ukraine war is unlikely to end on the battlefield and will instead come to a conclusion at a negotiating table, predicts a top U.S. general.
A Business Insider report — Top U.S. general says it will be really hard and cost a lot of ‘blood and treasure’ for Ukraine to ‘kick out every single Russian’ invader, March 21, 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/costs-ukraine-blood-treasure-kick-russia-invaders-out-us-general-2023-3 — said:
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said he believes that neither Russia, nor Ukraine, will likely be able to achieve their objectives through military power. The highest-ranking U.S. military officer recently told the Eurasia Group Foundation in a podcast that he believes diplomats from various countries will be the ones to eventually put an end to the fighting.
“At some point people will figure out that the cost of continuing to execute this war through military means is extraordinarily challenging. It does not mean it cannot be done. And I applaud the Ukrainian will and their courage and their resilience,” Milley said on the podcast, which was released on Tuesday, according to a transcript of his remarks.
“But there is also the practical matter of being able to physically kick out every single Russian out of all of Ukraine,” he continued. “That is really hard to do militarily, and it is an enormous cost in blood and treasure.” And because of this, “someone is going to figure out how to get to a negotiating table, and that’s where this thing will get settled out eventually.”
The Business Insider report said:
Milley’s remarks in the podcast echo similar assessments he has made during the course of the 13-month-long war. The general has expressed concern over the difficulty for Kyiv to completely push Russian forces out of occupied territories and expressed his belief that negotiations will determine the outcome.
The report added:
Ukraine has been facing the daunting task of weathering Russia’s assault.
Czech Republic Admits It Has Exhausted All Means Of Arming Ukraine
A media report said:
The Czech Republic has already done everything it can to help Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, President Petr Pavel has said. The nation’s capacity to produce more ammunition is limited due to workforce shortages, he added.
“We have not only delivered what we could from our own stocks, but also bought material abroad,” Pavel said in an interview with Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday.
The Czech Republic is still capable of producing some air defenses and ammunition that Ukraine needs, but it is “limited by the shortage of workforce,” he said.
“We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. Workers are hard to come by. But there are opportunities, for example, through [bringing in] workers from Ukraine,” explained Pavel, who was inaugurated as president on March 9.
He suggested that this year would be “decisive” for the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine.
The Czech president, who has a background in intelligence and served as chairman of the NATO Military Committee between 2015 and 2018, warned that Western support for Kiev “will diminish over time” due to so-called “war fatigue.”
There will be a presidential election in the U.S. in 2024, which will see the focus of American voters switch from foreign to domestic affairs, he said.
“It is virtually impossible for the Europeans alone to maintain the current level of support for Ukraine. If U.S. support weakens, so does the support of a number of European states,” the 61-year-old suggested.
Ukraine has to take this into account when it plans its next moves on the battlefield, because “next year, it will probably be unable to start any large and elaborate operation,” Pavel said.
According to the Czech Defense Ministry, the country has provided Kiev with €2.3 billion ($2.5 billion) worth of arms during the conflict. Prague does not disclose the types of weapons supplied due to what it calls security and tactical concerns.
Russia has on numerous occasions criticized deliveries of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine from the West, arguing that they only serve to escalate and prolong fighting without changing the ultimate outcome.
According to Moscow, arms shipments, intelligence sharing and training provided to Kiev’s troops have already made Western nations de facto parties to the conflict.
Pavel Warns Of Western Split
Petr Pavel has cautioned EU countries against overconfidence and competing with each other, and instead urged the West to present a united front against Russia and China.
Speaking on Tuesday at a debate hosted by the German Council for Foreign Relations, the Czech leader called on EU states to adhere to “Western values” and prioritize cooperation and unity, not only to oppose Moscow, but also to counter Beijing’s growing influence.
Pavel, a retired general who previously served as chief of the NATO Military Committee, also advocated continued support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, and claimed that this year will be crucial in determining the outcome of the hostilities.
Pavel predicted that neither Russia nor Ukraine will have the capacity for further offensives beyond 2023, which is why he believes a rapid supply of weapons to Ukrainian forces is in Europe’s interest.
However, the Czech leader admitted in an interview with German news outlet Suddeutsche Zeitung that his country has depleted its capabilities of supplying Kiev with weapons. “The Czech Republic helped Ukraine with the supply of weapons as best it could, but it no longer has the capacity to do so,” said the president.
Pavel claimed that the Czech Republic still has certain capabilities in the areas of air defense and the production of ammunition. However, he noted that the latter has become problematic due to a lack of labor, and suggested that a solution could be inviting workers from Ukraine to man the factories.
The Czech Republic has emerged as one of Kiev’s most active supporters in the conflict with Russia. Pavel has headed the Czech government since January 2023, and has repeatedly advocated unlimited military aid for Ukraine, while backing Kiev’s NATO aspirations.
Pavel has stated that he would like to see Russia weakened so that Moscow pursues “cooperation, not aggression.”
He has also asserted that only a change of the “Russian regime from within” would allow the EU to return to business as usual in its relations with Moscow.
Ukraine Only Has One Chance, Says Czech President
Another media report said:
With the U.S. set to refocus attention on domestic issues next year, Ukraine may not get funding for continued military action, Czech President Petr Pavel has said. The former army officer said Kiev’s armed forces may therefore have just one shot at conducting a major push against Russian troops.
“The window of opportunity is open this year. After next winter, it will be extremely difficult to maintain the current level of aid,” Pavel told the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.
“Ukraine will only have one attempt to launch a major counter-offensive,” he added as quoted by the outlet on Monday. If it fails, “it will be extremely difficult to obtain funds for the next one.”
Pavel has predicted that U.S. interest in aiding the Ukrainian army would likely dwindle in 2024. The political focus in the country will shift to the presidential campaign, and U.S.-China relations are likely to be the top foreign policy issue. European nations will likely reduce their funding of Ukraine too, the politician predicted.
He said it was up to Ukraine to decide what constitutes a victory over Russia, which Pavel assured would happen. But if it fails despite all Western help, there will be a “long war of attrition.”
“You cannot pretend that the only possible solution is complete success,” he said.
Washington has pledged to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to defeat Russia.
Russia considers the hostilities in Ukraine to be part of a U.S.-led proxy war, with Ukrainian troops being used as “cannon fodder” by Washington.