The most recent occurred on Friday when Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley almost took for granted that a Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory would be “horrible” for that country and cause “significant” casualties. “.
During a press conference at the Pentagon, the senior official also suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin choose the diplomatic route, a route he has always advocated for Moscow.
Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin briefed reporters on US military preparations for a possible “invasion with tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border.”
Austin placed 8,500 U.S. troops on high alert this week, ready for possible deployment in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Eastern Europe.
Milley’s remarks contrast with the message of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who had spoken the day before by telephone with his American counterpart, Joe Biden.
According to local media, the two leaders disagreed on the urgency of the Russian threat, with even Zelensky repeating that such rhetoric could cause panic in Ukraine.
Tensions around the Eastern European country have escalated in recent months due to persistent US accusations that Russia is plotting an invasion of its neighbour.
Biden, indeed, claimed he would apply personal sanctions to Putin, in the event of an order for an incursion into Ukraine, the practical effect of which the Kremlin has rejected.
Meanwhile, Russia defends the right to move forces within its own territory and accuses NATO of looking for pretexts to place more military equipment near its geographical limits.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has warned that escalating security tensions are due to information hysteria, media manipulation, fake news and concrete actions by Washington and the Atlantic Alliance.