'Disposable' Russian troops plied with drugs then unleashed in suicide missions against Ukraine in brutal new tactics

20 May 2023, 08:21 | Updated: 20 May 2023, 08:32

Russian troops are being thrown into the meatgrinder
Russian troops are being thrown into the meatgrinder. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Russian forces are plying "disposable" troops with drugs and launching them into suicidal missions against Ukrainian positions.

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Moscow's bloody tactics see them use soldiers they consider to be dispensable and throwing them into action on the frontlines after giving them amphetamines or other narcotics.

They are usually men conscripted from the occupied eastern territories of Luhansk and Donetsk, chunks of which have been under the control of Russia or Russian proxies for almost a decade.

Wagner mercenaries recruited out of jail and under-trained civilians forced into service in Vladimir Putin's mobilisation also make up these so called "disposable troops".

Ukrainian defenders open fire at them, often wiping out entire units, but give away their positions to better-trained Russian forces that can assault them or call in a strike.

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Putin's troops are doping their soldiers
Putin's troops are doping their soldiers. Picture: Alamy

The disposable infantry are even forced to fight because retreat could see them get shot by their own comrades.

A new report studying new Russian tactics, released by the British defence think tank RUSI, said: "They are issued with small arms.

"Ukrainian troops report that they often appear to be under the influence of amphetamines or other narcotic substances, with material recovered from the battlefield indicating that these are commonly taken in liquid form."

Read more: Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomes Joe Biden backing plan to help Ukraine with fighter jets

The report, "Meatgrinder: Russian Tactics in the Second Year of its Invasion of Ukraine", says these disposable infantry break up into smaller fire teams.

"The team will skirmish with Ukrainian defensive positions on contact, often until killed," it adds.

Ukrainians have been defending at Bakhmut
Ukrainians have been defending at Bakhmut. Picture: Alamy

"Ukrainian troops noted that many continued to advance, even after being wounded. On more than one occasion Ukrainian soldiers report that disposable infantry have been shot from Russian positions when attempting to retreat.

"As teams are destroyed by defensive fire, Russian forces will commit successive teams forward by the same line of approach.

"Ukrainian forces must continuously defend their positions against consecutive waves, expending ammunition, exposing the locations of their defensive positions, and exhausting their personnel."

A big Ukrainian counter attack against Russia is expected this year. Kyiv's forces have begun reclaiming territory around Bakhmut, a city that has been pulverised in a months-long Russian campaign to secure at least some kind of victory.

Ukraine will come up against some formidable defences built by the invaders across the areas it controls in the east and the south.

But in a huge boost for its chances in the war, the West is finally ready to let it use F-16 fighter jets.

President Joe Biden told his G7 counterparts he had agreed to allow the American warplanes to be sent for Ukrainian pilots to fly.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has spent much of the war asking for jets - its air force has relied on Soviet planes - and he called the move a "historic decision".

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