A large number of Russian casualties related to alcohol abuse, British intelligence report

Russian soldiers are drinking vodka in the frontline of Bakhmut. Photo Twitter.

Russia’s high number of casualties in Ukraine is linked to “pervasive alcohol abuse” among Moscow’s deployed fighters, according to the British defense ministry.

Citing a Russian social media channel, the government department wrote that there has been an “extremely high” number of “incidents, crimes, and deaths linked to alcohol consumption” among Moscow’s forces.

Russian troops are believed to be at a railway station in Dolbino, Russia, not far from the border with Ukraine. Photograph: Twitter

Reports of alcohol use and abuse have previously been leveled at Russia’s soldiers in Ukraine. Russian commanders likely see widespread alcohol abuse as “particularly detrimental” to the performance of Moscow’s troops, the U.K. defense ministry added.

The demoralized Russian soldier wept while talking to his mother on a video chat. Twitter

Suffering up to 200,000 casualties since February 2022, “a significant minority” can be tied to non-combat causes, including alcohol, the ministry continued in its daily update. Also among these factors are road accidents and hypothermia.

However, heavy drinking is “tacitly accepted” as part of military life, including during combat operations, the ministry wrote on Twitter.

Russia has not published up-to-date statistics on its casualty count since the fall of 2022 when Moscow announced the partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists. Defense minister Sergei Shoigu said on September 21 that 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed since February, which was the Kremlin’s first update since March 2022. In the first few weeks of fighting, 1,351 troops were killed, Moscow said on March 25, 2022.

On Sunday, Kyiv said 560 Russian soldiers were killed in the previous 24 hours. In an updated count, Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said 174,550 Russian troops had died in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war on February 24, 2022. However, Ukraine’s estimates typically come in higher than Western figures.

On February 17, the British defense ministry estimated total Russian casualties to be around 175,000 to 200,000, with 40,000 to 60,000 Russian military and mercenary fighters killed in Ukraine.

Both Kyiv and Moscow have sustained particularly heavy losses in the contested Donetsk city of Bakhmut, as fighting for control of the destroyed settlement continues. On Friday, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said time “plays against” Russian forces attempting to capture Bakhmut.

“The time, weapons, equipment and huge number of casualties spent by the enemy on the capture of Bakhmut do not justify themselves” militarily, Hanna Maliar wrote on Telegram.

Russia does not provide a running total of reported Ukrainian losses but said on Saturday that Ukraine had lost 110 fighters in the Donetsk direction over the previous day.

Russia is hoping to draft 400,000 more fighters for the war in Ukraine, the British defense ministry wrote on Thursday, in what it called a “major military recruitment campaign.”

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