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Ukrainian soldiers hooked on energy drinks – NYT

Some service members are unable to cope with the workload on the front line without a liquid jolt, the paper reports

Energy drinks have become the beverage of choice for many Ukrainian soldiers in the conflict with Russia despite health concerns, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

According to numerous Ukrainian troops interviewed by the paper, the sugar- and caffeine-loaded drinks are often the only way for them to overcome extreme exhaustion and endure the harsh realities of the front line.

”In the morning, when I wake up, I drink an energy drink. When I head out on patrol, I drink an energy drink. Before an attack, I drink an energy drink,” one reconnaissance soldier told the NYT. He explained that without energy drinks, he would not be able to walk distances of up to seven kilometers while carrying 40 kilograms of gear and being largely deprived of sleep and food for three days.

Some soldiers told the outlet that they would rather carry energy drinks into battle than bread.

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While some service members largely dismiss the health concerns associated with the constant consumption of energy drinks, a Ukrainian infantry sergeant told the NYT that one of his older comrades-in-arms, who had a heart condition and used to drink ten cans a day, was found dead with an energy drink in his hand.

The consumption of energy drinks has also soared in the rear, according to industry representatives, who said many Ukrainians use them to cope with constant missile attacks, anxiety, and lack of sleep.

With the drinks being shipped to the front by the truckload, becoming a kind of “frontline currency,” the market for the beverages is booming in Ukraine, according to the NYT, which called the trend one of the few silver linings for the country’s battered economy. According to industry surveys cited by the paper, sales of energy drinks in Ukraine have increased by nearly 50% since the conflict began.

The Ukrainian army has recently been on the back foot as Russian troops have advanced in Donbass and the border region of Kharkov, with Kiev suffering an acute manpower shortage despite the recent tightening of mobilization rules. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin estimated that Ukraine is losing at least 50,000 service personnel a month, five times more than the Russian military.

June 09, 2024 at 05:18PM

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