Milley Says Time Is Running Out for Ukraine’s Counteroffensive

The general says Ukraine only has 30-45 days left of 'fighting weather'

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Sunday that Ukraine’s counteroffensive could only have 30-45 days left before the assault is hindered by weather.

“There’s still a reasonable amount of time, probably about 30 to 45 days’ worth of fighting weather left, so the Ukrainians aren’t done,” Milley told BBC. “There’s battles not done… they haven’t finished the fighting part of what they’re trying to accomplish.”

He said it was still too early to tell if the counteroffensive had failed and claimed Ukrainian forces were “progressing at a very steady pace through the Russian front lines.” But since the assault was launched in early June, Ukraine has not regained a significant amount of territory.

Military situation in Ukraine on September 11, 2023 (

US officials speaking to the media anonymously have been more candid about Ukraine’s faltering offensive, with some telling The Washington Post that US intelligence has determined Ukraine will fail to meet its main objective of severing Russia’s land bridge to Crimea.

Last month, Newsweek reported that Ukrainian leadership was divided on how to move forward in light of the faltering counteroffensive. Some officials wanted to consolidate what small gains they’ve made to prepare for an expected Russian offensive this winter, while others wanted to press on.

Since the Newsweek report was published, Ukrainian forces have continued to launch attacks across the front, taking heavy losses. “I said at the very beginning of this that this was going to be long, slow, hard, and high-casualty-producing, and that’s exactly what it is,” Milley told BBC.

Milley was calling for peace talks last fall after Ukraine made gains in Kharkiv and Kherson. But the State Department and White House opposed the idea of diplomacy, and the Biden administration helped prepare Ukraine for a counteroffensive that the Discord leaks revealed the US knew would not be successful.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.