Ukraine, alcohol and drugs on the front: Russian soldiers without brakes

Amphetamine and cannabis are easily available even on the front lines

There is a problem of alcohol and drug abuse among Russian soldiers fighting on the front in Ukraine. This is highlighted by the daily bulletin of British military intelligence.

In September, “the independent Russian outlet Vertska reported that up to 15% of Russian soldiers in Ukraine use drugs, including amphetamine and cannabis, which are easy to obtain even at the front. Such reports – the bulletin notes – are credible and following the numerous reports since the beginning of the invasion of a high rate of disciplinary incidents, crimes and deaths, due to alcohol abuse among Russian forces”.

Russian commanders frequently punish alcohol and drug abuse with the transfer to the Storm Z assault units, which have now become penal departments. A major cause of poor Russian discipline and substance abuse is the continued lack of opportunities for rotation troops from duty to the front line,” military intelligence concludes.

On the other hand, the problems currently concern the leaders. Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov is considering the dismissal of three military commanders. Ukrainska pravda writes this, citing sources from the military political command. At risk are the positions of Tetiana Ostashchenko, commander of the medical departments, Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of the forces of the strategic group Tavriia (the southern front) and Serhii Naiev, commander of the joint forces of the army.

The sources did not explain the reasons for the possible removal of Tarnavsky, commander of one of the fronts of the counteroffensive. As for Naiev, the reasons were not given, but he could be involved in the investigation into the failure of the defense of the Kherson oblast at the time of the Russian invasion in February 2022. Ostashchenko’s dismissal would ultimately be requested by doctors and paramedics involved in the army medical supplies. The new Minister of Diesa Umerov took office in early September.