Russian Military Facing 'Mental Health Crisis' As Troops Grapple With PTSD, UK Says

Even those "who are unfit to fight" are potentially being sent to the frontline.
Russian soldiers as they waited for a speech from President Vladimir Putin back in June.
Russian soldiers as they waited for a speech from President Vladimir Putin back in June.
via Associated Press

Russian troops are “facing a mental health crisis” with around 100,000 individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the latest UK intelligence.

The ministry of defence (MoD) has claimed in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that Russian psychologists identified a serious issue among the armed forces back in December last year, less than a year into the Ukraine war.

In its update released on Wednesday, the MoD speculated: “This number is almost certainly now higher as the Russian military fails to provide sufficient rotation and recuperation from the battlefield.”

More than 18 months into a war which Moscow expected to be relatively quick, Russia controls less than a fifth of Ukrainian land.

The frontline remains static due to the strength of Kyiv’s defence, and morale among Russian troops has been reportedly waning for some time.

The deputy chief of the defence intelligence of Ukraine, Vadym Skibitskyi, claimed that Russia has amassed more than 420,000 troops in temporarily occupied territories and on the Crimean Peninsula in September.

It’s not clear how Skibitskyi came about this figure, but – if accurate – would suggest at least a quarter of these troops are struggling with PTSD right now.

The MoD said multiple commanders reportedly raised worries about overstretching troops earlier this year, including General-Major Ivan Popov. He was relieved of his duties in July.

The MoD added: “There are additional indications that doctors in Russia are sending military personnel who are unfit to the front.

“Appeal claims against Russian military medical commissions are higher in 2023 than they were in 2022, with many cases denied or claims abandoned.”

The MoD has previously claimed that the Kremlin is reluctant to declare another partial mobilisation of its reservists following the public backlash the last time officials attempted this back in September 2022.

In Wednesday’s update, the intelligence officials concluded: “With a lack of care for its soldiers’ mental health and fitness to fight, Russia’s combat fighting effectiveness continues to operate at sub-optimal levels.”

In August, the UK alleged that thousands of Russian troops were refusing to fight in Ukraine amid plummeting morale while Moscow was also failing to hit its army recruitment targets.

Russian armed forces had reportedly suffered more than 200,000 casualties by July this year and at least half of the elite 30,000 Russian paratroopers sent to Ukraine may have been killed or wounded.

Thousands of Russian casualties in Ukraine have also been linked to “alcohol consumption,” according to previous MoD updates.


What's Hot