Russia's attack on Ukraine continues near the frontline town of Bakhmut
Bakhmut has been a Russian target for months and the battle to capture the city is still underway. Reuters

Several reports have made shocking claims about Russian soldiers as they fight Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. Some reports accused them of human rights violations, while others claimed that they are clueless.

Now, a report by the UK's Defence Ministry has claimed that the Russian soldiers have been abusing alcohol to the extent that it is affecting their fighting capabilities.

The intelligence report by the military claimed that Russian soldiers are dying of issues such as over-consumption of alcohol and poor weapons handling drills. It added that the Russian side has suffered up to 200,000 casualties since the beginning of the war and that most of these have been due to these issues.

"Russian commanders likely identify pervasive alcohol abuse as particularly detrimental to combat effectiveness," said the MoD. "However, with heavy drinking pervasive across much of Russian society, it has long been seen as a tacitly accepted part of military life, even on combat operations," it added.

The report says that an "extremely high" number of incidents, crimes, and fatalities among the Russian soldiers in Ukraine is associated with alcohol.

"Other leading causes of non-combat casualties likely include poor weapon handling drills, road traffic accidents and climatic injuries such as hypothermia," the Ministry of Defence said.

Recently, a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) claimed that Russian soldiers were turning to alcohol and "self-mutilation" to escape the front lines. The ISW made the claims citing Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar. The minister said that the Russian forces are increasingly engaging in alcohol abuse.

"In addition, we know of cases of deliberate self-mutilation by representatives of the Russian military and cases of suicide," Malyar added.

Russian soldiers have also been accused of rape and sexual violence. They have been accused of committing rampant war crimes in Ukraine and against non-combatant civilians. However, the Russian government has dismissed all such claims.

Several media reports have said that there has been a decline in the morale of Russian troops as the war in Ukraine drags on.

A recent report by UK Intelligence has now claimed that Putin's troops are likely using shovels for "hand-to-hand" combat because Russia is seeing an ammunition shortage. The UK's Ministry of Defence claimed that the Russian troops were ordered to carry out an attack on a Ukrainian position "armed with only 'firearms and shovels" in February this year.

The founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, made similar claims about the shortage of ammunition in Russia.

He even accused Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu of "treason" for allegedly withholding ammunition supplies to his forces. He even claimed that Moscow may be trying to set them up as possible scapegoats if his country loses the war in Ukraine.

It has been more than a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. The war has dragged on with no immediate end in sight. In the last few months, Russian forces have seen significant setbacks in some regions. Currently, it is fighting tooth and nail to capture Bakhmut. The battle for Bakhmut has become the longest battle of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Bakhmut has been a Russian target for months since capturing the city can help the Russians direct their forces towards other Ukrainian strongholds in the eastern Donetsk region.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrainian forces are continuing to inflict high casualties against advancing Russian forces. Thousands of soldiers have lost their lives on both sides since the beginning of the war. Russia has had to resort to mass conscription to increase its military strength.

It called up around 300,000 reservists to fight in the war in September last year. It was the first time since World War II that reservists were called up to fight.

Tens of thousands of military-age men had taken to the streets to hold demonstrations against the order. But that did not deter Putin from going ahead with the plan. The setbacks in the war, international condemnation, and isolation have been unable to force Putin to stop the war that has claimed thousands of lives.