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Gen. Milley urges US troops to be on ‘high alert’ against Russia

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 28, 2021. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley)
September 19, 2022

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned over the weekend that while Russia has suffered setbacks in its war with Ukraine, troops must stay on high alert because it is impossible to predict how Russia will react to its failures.

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“The war is not going too well for Russia right now,” Milley said during a visit to a Warsaw, Poland military base on Sunday, according to Reuters. “So it’s incumbent upon all of us to maintain high states of readiness, alert … In the conduct of war, you just don’t know with a high degree of certainty what will happen next.”

Milley visited the Polish base because it is supporting Ukraine’s efforts to fight back against Russian invaders; defense officials asked the press not to disclose the specific base for security reasons. The top general noted that U.S. troops in Europe are not under increased threat, but they should remain vigilant. 

Milley did not specifically speculate on what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next move could be, but said the conflict had entered a new phase.

“Because of that, we have to very closely watch what Russia’s reactions to that will be,” Milley said. 

Milley reviewed several defense systems during his visit, including Patriot missile batteries that would act as the last line of defense against a Russian attack. 

Last week, the BBC reported that Ukrainian forces said they had repossessed 3,000 square km — about 1,158 square miles — of territory that it had lost to Russian invasion forces earlier this year.

Amid Russia’s rapid loss of territory in Ukraine, reports have begun to circulate of Ukrainian forces calling on Russian troops to surrender.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the retreating Russian forces of striking energy infrastructure in the country’s east and leaving large swathes of territory without power.

“A total blackout in the Kharkiv & Donetsk regions, a partial one in the Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk & Sumy regions,” Zelensky tweeted. “RF terrorists remain terrorists & attack critical infrastructure. No military facilities, the goal is to deprive people of light & heat. #RussiaIsATerroristState.”