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Col. Milburn: Long war of attrition ahead in Ukraine bar a ‘black swan event’

The ex-U.S. commander Colonel Andrew Milburn was the first U.S. Marine to lead a Special Operations Task Force during the war against the so-called Islamic State and is now set on training Ukraine’s Special Forces.

Colonel Milburn called his organisation the Mozart Group – a counter to Russia’s infamous mercenary firm The Wagner Group.

He says he was drawn to Ukraine by a desire to do something and even with the reported Russian troop withdrawal from Kyiv, he believes it is only a temporary pause as they consolidate forces in the east.

“The term Mozart Group is a little bit tongue in cheek, of course we’re nothing like the Wagner Group. First of all we have an ethical sense of purpose, we have a high level of collective emotional intelligence. We’re professionals, all of us are former special operations officers whose one common cause is to assist Ukraine in defence against Russian aggression,” said Milburn.

Asked about his assessment of the current state of play in Ukraine, Col. Milburn noted firstly that Russians are making slow but significant progress in Donbass and, “they’re doing it in a very brutal way, they just pound a town with artillery and airstrikes regardless of the civilians within that town until it is completely rubbled.”

He went on to say that “It’s unbelievable the scale of destruction that the Russians are carrying out on these civilian areas.”

“Ahead, I see a long bloody war of attrition. It’s going to last at least a year, unless there is a black swan event. I mean an event that is not predictive, in the sense that the current status quo will lead to it,” Milburn assessed.

“One example could be Putin being overthrown or killed, it’s not inconceivable,” he added.

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