Top US general says US will support Ukraine’s defence ‘for as long as it takes’

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley on Wednesday said America’s support for Ukraine’s defence efforts will remain a priority for the Pentagon until Kyiv’s forces accomplish their own goals at their own pace.

Speaking at a press briefing at the Pentagon alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the most senior American officer in uniform pointed out that Ukraine has not asked for allies to put troops on the ground to support their efforts to repel the Russian forces that have occupied cities and terrorised civilian populations since the invasion escalated in February.

“They don't want American soldiers or British or German or French or anybody else to fight for them. They will fight for themselves,” said Gen Milley, who added that the only thing Kyiv has asked for is “the means to fight” against Moscow’s invading troops.

“We are determined to provide that means,” he said.

The US Marine Corps general said Ukraine’s defence forces would continue to fight “on their own timeline”.

“And until then, we will continue to support [them] all the way, for as long as it takes,” he added.

Gen Milley’s comments come as Republicans are poised to secure a majority in the House of Representatives, which would give them the theoretical ability to block any future defence aid to Kyiv through the lower chamber’s control of the US budget process.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, and General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff (REUTERS)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, and General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff (REUTERS)

A number of GOP members have in recent months suggested that the US should stop provisioning aid to Ukraine or condition further aid on extracting concessions from the Biden administration, though it’s unclear whether enough Republicans would support such a plan to keep the remainder from joining with Democrats to advance any legislation to provide for additional funding.

The White House has asked Congress to pass a supplemental appropriations bill providing for sufficient resources to keep Ukrainian forces supported through the end of the fiscal year during the year-ending lame duck session of the 117th Congress.