US estimates 40,000 Ukraine civilians killed or wounded in Russia's invasion

Watch ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo's report on Russia appearing to withdraw from some areas of Ukraine.

As many as 40,000 Ukrainian civilians are thought to have been killed or wounded by the Russian invasion, according to the US military.

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a press conference on Wednesday that there has been "well over" 100,000 Russian casualties and that similar military losses have "probably" been felt by Kyiv.

"There has been a tremendous amount of suffering, human suffering," he said at The Economic Club of New York.

His comments come after Russia had announced it was withdrawing its forces from Kherson, a regional capital in southern Ukraine which it had seized earlier in the war.

But Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that the Russians are feigning a retreat from Kherson to lure the Ukrainian army into an entrenched battle.

General Milley, the highest-ranking US military officer, said Russia had amassed 20,000 to 30,000 troops in Kherson and a full retreat could take several weeks.

"The initial indicators are they are in fact doing it. They made the public announcement they’re doing it. I believe they’re doing it in order to preserve their force to re-establish defensive lines south of the [Dnieper] river, but that remains to be seen," he said.

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He added it’s possible the Russians will use the retreat to reset their troops for a spring offensive, but said "there's also a window of opportunity" for peace negotiations to take place.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he will “believe it when we see it”, when asked about Russia withdrawing from Kherson, adding it would be a “significant psychological blow” for Russian troops if they left the city.

Speaking at a meeting of ministers from the Joint Expeditionary Force nations in Edinburgh, he said Kherson is the only major objective Russia had managed to take and hold during the war.

Ben Wallace speaks during a press conference after a meeting of allies in the Joint Expeditionary Force grouping in Edinburgh. Credit: PA

Mr Wallace said: “It must be quite a significant psychological blow that the one objective they did manage to capture, they have announced their intention to leave. “Of course this is Russia, so we haven’t yet seen them leave en masse. “We will believe it when we see it and I think we should all be cautious, as (Ukrainian) President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy was, that there is still Russian tricks and all sorts of things. “But if they do pull out of Kherson it does beg that broader question of what was it all for? “What was all the tens of thousands of deaths for when every one of their major objectives they have failed to hold or capture since February.”

On Tuesday, Mr Zelenskyy said he was open to peace talks with Moscow to end the war, but only on the condition that Russia return all of Ukraine’s occupied lands, provide compensation for war damage and face prosecution for war crimes.

Meanwhile, Russia has also said it is open to talks to bring the war - which is now into its ninth month - to an end.