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British intelligence cites alcohol abuse as contributor to Russian losses in Ukraine

A Russian soldier pictured drinking alcohol. Ukrainian civilians reportedly gave Russian soldiers poisoned food and drink. (Ukraine Defense Intelligence Directorate/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The British Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence update on April 2 that alcohol abuse was among the noncombat causes of many deaths among Russian troops deployed in Ukraine.

“While Russia has suffered up to 200,000 casualties since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a significant minority of these have been due to non-combat causes,” the ministry said on Twitter.

It noted a recent Russian Telegram news channel report of “extremely high” numbers of incidents, crimes and deaths linked to alcohol consumption among the deployed Russian troops.

“However, with heavy drinking pervasive across much of Russian society, it has long been seen as a tacitly accepted part of military life, even on combat operations,” the intelligence update said.