‘Otherwise, how can they go to certain death?’

Ukrainian servicemen are seen along the frontline south of Bakhmut in the city of Toretsk, Ukraine, March 17, 2023.Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

  • A Ukrainian soldier said Russian Wagner Group troops in Bakhmut appeared to be drugged.

  • No evidence has emerged to show that Russia or the Wagner Group are supplying drugs to their troops.

  • Ukrainian soldiers have previously claimed that Russian troops look like “zombies”.

A Ukrainian soldier fighting in Bakhmut told The New York Times that his unit sometimes wonders if fighters from Russia’s infamous Wagner group do drugs.

Although there is no proof of this, this is not the first time that Ukrainians have wondered aloud that the behavior of some Russian soldiers could be medically induced.

The Wagner Group is a powerful Russian paramilitary unit that has established itself as a key ally in Russia’s advance inside Ukraine. The group once caused controversy when it offered freedom to convicted Russian prisoners in exchange for fighting. Wagner Group fighters are notorious for storming frontline positions and taking severe casualties.

A retired US Marine has estimated that the average life expectancy of a Wagner soldier on the front lines in eastern Ukraine is just four hours. And a 48-year-old inmate who traded his freedom to serve in Russia’s Wagner band told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month that the band only trained him for three weeks and expected to die on his first mission.

It’s the kind of behavior that soldiers from Ukraine’s Third Assault Brigade, which is currently fighting the Wagner Group in the key eastern town of Bakhmut, say could be the result of drug use. The unit’s media officer told The New York Times that 10 to 15 Wagner fighters advanced on their position, to their almost certain death, every day for the first month of combat.

“They get killed and they come back,” he told The Times. “Our guys are wondering if they are on drugs. Otherwise, how can they go to certain death, stepping over the rotting corpses of their colleagues? You can go a little crazy.”

The Ukrainians had earlier speculated that the Russian soldiers were doing drugs in November as winter began to make the fighting even more miserable, telling AFP that the Russian soldiers looked like “zombies”.

“You shoot at them and more come constantly,” said one soldier, according to AFP.

Another Ukrainian soldier told CNN in February that the advance of Russian forces looked like a “zombie movie” as they climbed over “the corpses of their friends”.

“It looks like it’s very, very likely that they were given drugs before the attack,” the soldier told CNN.

Although there is no evidence that the fighters of the Wagner Group take drugs, there is a long history of drug use in the conflicts.

During World War II, Nazi Germany administered amphetamines, which were touted as a “miracle drug”, according to TIME. Nazi soldiers took the drugs to increase their alertness and alertness, according to the outlet.

Also during World War II, the Russian Ministry of Defense gave every Russian soldier on the front line a 100-gram ration of vodka called the commissar’s ration, according to a Macalester College report.

And during World War I, according to the BBC, cocaine and heroin use was common among soldiers. Department stores even sold kits for taking the drugs, which were marketed as a nice gift for those fighting on the front lines.

Read the original Insider article


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