The highest-ranking military officer in the US has said Ukraine’s ultimate goal of pushing all Russian troops from Ukraine faces a “very high bar.”

Speaking on Sunday evening, General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said to “completely kick out all the Russians” is “going to be a very significant effort.”

“It’ll take a considerable length of time to militarily eject all 200,000 or plus Russian troops out of Russian-occupied Ukraine.

“That’s a very high bar. It's going to take a long time to do it.”

While his assessment of Kyiv’s ultimate goal was cautious, Milley was keen to stress the ongoing counteroffensive had not “failed,” and despite being "slower than the planners had anticipated, it has been steady.”

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“I know there’s some commentary out there that somehow this offensive has failed. It hasn’t failed,” Milley said, adding that Ukraine has “a lot of combat power remaining.

“The Ukrainians are not a spent force.”

However, when it comes to the likelihood of achieving more ambitious goals such as reaching the southern coast and recapturing the city of Mariupol, Milley said he didn't want to “make a prediction,” AFP reports.

Milley defended the rate at which the US has been providing weapons and other aid to Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion began in February 2022.

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With the US dithering, the implications need to be recognized and decisive action taken to avoid disaster in the shape of a Russian victory in Ukraine.

Despite criticism – including from inside Ukraine – that the US government is dragging its feet, Milley said some $40 billion in weapons and $100 billion in overall aid was “extraordinarily generous.”

The speed of deliveries, however, is governed by logistics and “how fast they can absorb it.”

“So, it’s not just, sprinkle magic dust and the stuff starts showing up.”

Milley’s comments came as Ukraine announced it had liberated another village near Bakhmut, the tactically important town of Klishchiivka.

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“Klishchiivka was cleared of Russians,” Oleksandr Syrsky, commander of the Ukrainian military’s ground forces, posted on Telegram.

Footage and photos posted to social media showed Ukrainian troops holding flags among the ruins of the destroyed village.

Klishchiivka, which was home to several hundred people before Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, was captured by Russian troops in January.

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