Intel Report: Russian Troops Are Falling to Booze

Putin's soldiers also succumbing to hypothermia and mishandling weapons, says UK analysis
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2023 7:25 PM CDT
Intel Report: Russian Troops Are Falling to Booze
Recruits hold their weapons during military training at a firing range in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia, Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.   (AP Photo, File)

Intel from the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense suggests Russian soldiers in Ukraine aren't just falling prey to bullets and bombs. They are also dying from too much alcohol, extreme cold, and mishandling their own weapons, reports Business Insider. The MOD tweeted an intelligence update on Ukraine early Monday. It painted a brutal portrait of the year-old war. Russia has lost an estimated 200,000 soldiers since it invaded, but a large chunk of that number were killed by alcohol use, vehicle accidents, and injuries related to the cold. The MOD report states that Russian commanders are likely to see alcohol abuse as a big problem for maintaining combat effectiveness, though the report adds that drinking too much is endemic in Russia and generally accepted even during combat ops.

Forbes reported in November on Russians in eastern Ukraine dying in the cold, citing videos made by Ukrainian drones that revealed soldiers in end-stage hypothermia, too sick to even respond to the drones, which were also equipped with bombs. But the Russian relationship with alcohol is well-known, with the Atlantic reporting in 2013 that "one-in-five men in the Russian Federation die due to alcohol-related causes." For 2023, World Population Review lists Russia as the second-worst nation in this regard (behind Hungary), with a 20.9% rate of alcohol use disorder. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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