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Top U.S. General Urges 'High' Alert Due to Concern Over What Putin May Do

Newsweek 9/18/2022 Thomas Kika
Above, a shot of General Mark Milley at a news briefing in 2021. Milley recently urged caution and vigilance as Russia continues to suffer setbacks in Ukraine. © Alex Wong/Getty Images Above, a shot of General Mark Milley at a news briefing in 2021. Milley recently urged caution and vigilance as Russia continues to suffer setbacks in Ukraine.

A top United States military leader has urged caution as Russia continues to suffer major setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine.

General Mark Milley, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, paid a visit Sunday to a military base in Warsaw, Poland, that is aiding Ukraine in its efforts against Russian forces. Speaking after the visit, Milley said that Moscow's reaction to its recent failures cannot be predicted and urged troops to stay vigilant amid the tense situation, Reuters reported. He also said that U.S. forces in Europe are not considered to be under an increased threat, despite the need for vigilance.

"The war is not going too well for Russia right now," Milley said. "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's visit to the Warsaw base involved a review of its various defense systems, including a battery of Patriot missiles. According to Reuters, the missiles "would be a last line of defense" if Russian forces attacked the base and risked a larger conflict with the U.S. and its NATO allies. For security reasons, press outlets have been asked not to report the name of the specific base that Milley visited.

In a forthcoming episode of 60 Minutes, President Joe Biden issued a strong warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. While he refrained from giving specific details about what it would be, Biden did say that the U.S. response to such a scenario would be "consequential."

"Don't. Don't. Don't," the president said. "You will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II... [Russia] will become more of a pariah in the world than they ever have been. And depending on the extent of what they do will determine what response would occur."

The Kremlin, in response to Biden's warning, issued a brief statement, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying, "Read the doctrine. Everything is written there."

Peskov referred to Russia's nuclear doctrine, which states that the country may deploy nuclear weapons in the face of "aggression against Russia or its ally with the use of mass destruction weapons" or "when the very existence of the state is under threat."

Russia recently suffered one of the most significant setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine, with the latter's forces launching a successful counteroffensive and driving Russian soldiers out of several key parts in the Kharkiv region. Over the course of the six month campaign, Russia has notably failed to achieve numerous military goals, including the capture of Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv.

Newsweek reached out to Russian officials for comment.

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