July 15, 2024

Russia is punishing drug addicts and alcoholics by sending them to the frontlines in Ukraine in Storm-Z assault detachments, which are effectively penal units in the riskiest positions, the U.K. Ministry of Defense posted on X.

“One of the core drivers of poor Russian discipline and substance abuse likely remains the continued lack of opportunity for combat troops to rotate away from the front line.”

Poor discipline and substance abuse have plagued Russia’s forces in Ukraine since the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion in Feb. 2022.

A Meduza investigative report showed that “One out of every 10 soldiers smokes marijuana, and many also take hard drugs, according to independent outlet Verstka.” Narcotics traffickers also sell synthetic drugs such as mephedrone while drug paraphernalia is often found at destroyed positions.

“Let’s be honest, no one here wants a commotion, drugs in the battalion are a stain on all of us. No one needs the prosecutor and Investigative Committee here. And there won’t be any trials. It’s easier to put them in confinement for two days and write up a document saying they’ll be transferred to Storm. They can’t say no,” one soldier told Meduza.

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