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Russian soldiers are increasingly turning to hard drugs to pass the time as boredom takes its toll on the frontline in Ukraine.
Dozens of soldiers told the independent Russian newspaper Verstka that drug use was rife among the forces deployed to the war.
Drugs were reported to be easily available to troops stuck in the trenches.
One in 10 Russian soldiers reportedly smokes marijuana or takes hard drugs, according to Verstka’s investigation.
As Ukraine’s counteroffensive has made slow progress to date, many Russian soldiers are struggling to pass the time.
Earlier today, Ukraine claimed to have made a small incremental gain of 400 metres to the south-west of Verbove in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Military spokesperson Oleksandr Stupun said the southern advance was still difficult because of Russian minefields and heavily fortified defences.
As a result, many Russian soldiers are turning to powerful drugs. The most popular one among the troops is ‘salt’ – a synthetic drug also known as alpha-PVP.
One soldier described smoking ‘salt’ off a jar lid through a ballpoint pen and washing it down with vodka.
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It is thought to induce powerful paranoia and hallucinations among its users and can lead to aggressive behaviour or self-injury.
Senior commanders in the military often “turn a blind eye” to the drug use, as long as the users “don’t bother anyone”.
One soldier said: “War is when you’re constantly waiting for something, occasionally praying for it all to be over.
“When I was smoking salt in the dugout, I didn’t give a f*** about a possible freakout. The boredom’s a lot worse.”
Another soldier said the trenches resembled Las Vegas while another questioned the battle readiness of the troops, saying that many high Russian soldiers are clearly “not in their right mind”.
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Ukrainian forces who seize Russian trenches have found drug paraphernalia left behind, including mainly ‘gunpowder’ (amphetamine), ‘pinecones’ (marijuana) and ‘salt’.
Russian soldiers, who can earn up to 200,000 roubles (£1,700) a month, often spend their cash on drugs, usually bought through the social messaging app Telegram.
One video of drug use that circulated on social media in August showed a group of Russian soldiers smoking marijuana through a tin can.
The caption of the video read: “It is not surprising that after commands from the military leadership when conscripts are thrown under fire like cannon fodder, they have to suppress memories of the horrors of war with the help of alcohol and drugs.”
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