Russian trenches are ‘like Vegas’ with amount of drugs soldiers are taking

Drug taking is rife among Russian troops, an investigation found.

Russian trenches are ‘like Vegas’ with amount of drugs soldiers are taking
Russian demining team members work to clear an area in the city of Mariupol on July 13, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images)
An investigation in Russian occupied Mariupol found rife drug use (Picture: Olga Maltseva/AFP)

Russian soldiers in Ukraine are thought to be taking a drug known as salt, which can cause paranoia and aggression and lead to hallucinations and self-harm.

The synthetic drug, officially called alpha-PVP, is – alongside amphetamines, mephedrone and marijuana – rife among Putin’s troops, according to an investigation.

Independent Russian website Verstka spoke to dozens of soldiers, drug users, and residents in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory as part of the probe, reports The Times.

Getting drugs delivered to the trenches in occupied areas was easy, the investigation found, with one soldier saying: ‘It’s like in Las Vegas.’

Another soldier said: ‘Everyone knows if you’re taking drugs in the trenches, of course — the dugout is small. Nobody gives a damn; the main thing is not to bother anyone. Just don’t leave the dugout.’

He said people took the narcotics out of boredom, adding: ‘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 [paranoia]. The boredom’s a lot worse.’

The drugs are sometimes sold by locals, smuggled in by the soldiers themselves or brought in unwittingly by people delivering equipment.

TOPSHOT - Russian servicemen patrol the destroyed part of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol on May 18, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images)
Morale is said to be low among Russian troops (Picture: Olga Maltseva/AFP)

Apparently many soldiers place orders using the Telegram messaging app.

Due to the dangers involved in delivering drugs to a war zone, prices are reportedly high, but this isn’t putting soldiers off, Verstka was told.

It probably helps that those in the Russian armed forces get paid relatively well – up to 200,000 roubles (£1,700) a month, which is four times the Russian average salary.

One drug user from occupied Mariupol said drugs in the ‘new regions’, which had been taken over by Russia, cost at least twice as much as they do in Moscow.

But he said there were still as many users as before – in fact, most soldiers in the city take drugs, he added.

Russian servicemen stand guard at the destroyed part of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol on May 18, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images)
Some soldiers said heavy drinking was common on the frontline, but not drug-taking (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

He said he’d seen Russian soldiers high more than once and that he could tell they ‘weren’t in their right mind’.

One soldier said he smoked ‘salt’ off a jar lid through a ballpoint pen, before washing it down with vodka.

Some soldiers played down suggestions there was much drug-taking on the front line, claiming it was more common further back where there was less to do.

They did, however, agree that heavy drinking on the frontline was widespread.

There have been previous reports of low morale among Russian troops, with some of those on the front allegedly feeling as if they’re being used as ‘artillery meat’.

A Ukrainian website entitled ‘I Want to Live’ is said to be in the process of helping more than 800 demoralised Russian troops to surrender.

The website is said to have had more than 25,000 contacts overall since launching around 13 months ago.

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