The British government believes alcohol consumption is one of the reasons behind the high number of casualties by Russian forces in Ukraine.

While Russia has lost up to 200,000 armed forces through injuries or death since the beginning of the war of aggression just over a year ago, a large number of these can be attributed to causes other than the actual combat operations, the British Ministry of Defense said, citing intelligence findings. “Russian commanders may consider widespread alcohol abuse to be particularly detrimental to the effectiveness of combat operations,” it said.

Reasons for non-combat casualties

Earlier in the week, a Russian Telegram news channel reported that there was an “extremely high” number of alcohol-related incidents, crimes and deaths among the armed forces, the British wrote. Heavy drinking was widespread in Russian society and accepted as a tacitly accepted part of military life, including on combat missions. Other major causes of non-combat casualties may also have included poor weapon training, traffic accidents, and climatic injuries such as hypothermia.

Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defense has published daily updates on the course of the war. Citing intelligence information, the British government wants to both counter the Russian narrative and keep allies in line. Moscow accuses London of a targeted disinformation campaign.