“The dirtier the conflict, the greater the problems”: why do the Ukrainian army’s soldiers increasingly commit suicide
The chief military prosecutor of Ukraine, Anatoly Matios, said that in the total losses of the Supreme Court of Ukraine over the past few years, the proportion of suicides has increased.According to the Ukrainian media, citing the head of the military oversight department, only from the beginning of this year, 33 Ukrainian soldiers committed suicide. In total, according to Matios, in 2014-2017, 554 servicemen of the Ukrainian army reduced their accounts with life.
As the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak notes, since the outbreak of hostilities in the east of the country, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost 3,332 people, of whom 2,394 servicemen died as a direct result of the hostilities. This means that for every four deaths there is one non-combat loss, of which a large part is suicide.
“In the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the number of which is a quarter of a million people, for every 100 thousand people there are 55 cases of suicide,” says a material from the UNIAN agency dedicated to the statement of Matios.
The media notes that these statistics differ sharply for the worse from similar data from other countries of the world. According to the agency, in Israel, there are nine suicides per 100,000 troops, and in the United States, whose soldiers are also involved in various hot spots, 28.
It is not the first time that Anatoly Matios speaks about the problem of the voluntary withdrawal from the life of the APU soldiers.On February 20, on the TV channel “112 Ukraine”, he reported that, on average, in the zone of the conduct of hostilities in the Donbass in 2017, “from two to three suicide facts per week” was noted.
This statement by the Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine provoked a major scandal. The head of the main department for moral and psychological support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleg Gruntkovsky, publicly accused the head of the military supervisory department of lying.
"I do not know where he is from (Matios. -RT) I took these numbers ... I can only say one thing, that this number is several times smaller. Matios’s statement does not correspond to reality and, most likely, is connected with the manipulation of public opinion, ”Gruntkovsky stressed.
According to him, 66% of all cases of suicide in the Ukrainian army does not occur in the area of hostilities, but in the points of permanent deployment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. At the same time, the head of the moral and psychological support of the Ukrainian army did not give the exact number of soldiers who had committed suicide, explaining that this information was intended “for official use”.
Rostislav Ischenko, President of the Center for System Analysis and Forecasting, believes that in this correspondence dispute of Ukrainian military officials, most likely, Matios should be trusted. “It is unlikely that he overestimated suicide figures in the army.Information from other sources suggests that the data of the Chief Military Prosecutor are not far from the truth, ”he argues.
According to the expert, Matios made this statement specifically in order to absolve himself of responsibility in case of any changes in the political life of the Ukrainian state.
“As an experienced bureaucrat, the chief military prosecutor understands that if he does not disclose these data, then questions will arise to him why he concealed them. And so he, as an official, declared the existence of this problem, gave statistical calculations and showed that he benefits the state. The country's leadership should make decisions and draw conclusions, ”Ischenko explained.
According to the RT source in the Main Military Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, the problem of suicides in the army is primarily related to the unsatisfactory psychological assistance to the serviceman.
“Suicides in the ATO zone are recorded every month, sometimes in several cases per week. Young people of 1997-1998, who commit suicides both in the combat zone and beyond, suffer the most. Soldiers do not cope with stress: they have to kill and see the death of their good friends.
But there is still no psychological rehabilitation in Ukraine, less than 1% of the Ukrainian military receive targeted assistance. We have repeatedly talked about this issue with the Ministry of Defense, but they prefer to close their eyes on the problem, ”the source said.
Anatoly Matios, Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine
"They do not understand why they are forced to kill"
The source of the prosecutor’s office confirmed the words at the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, noting that practically no one is dealing with the problem of psychological assistance to servicemen and war veterans in the country.
“After returning from the ATO zone, as a rule, they need more help from a psychologist than a therapist or surgeon. Most of the young men are not ready for a collision with death, therefore their personal problems only intensify after six months of being on the front line.
These people in a peaceful life feel unnecessary, do not understand how to live a civilian, do not tolerate rudeness and rudeness. They can't handle it and commit suicide. Nobody works with them, ”the doctor at the Kiev Military Hospital told RT.
Similar data citing Ukrainian sources are cited by Ukrainian journalists.“The Minsotspolitiki answer that 12 thousand participants in the ATO have already undergone psychological rehabilitation in 2015–2017, and another 15 thousand have received sanatorium-resort treatment. If we take into account that 326 thousand soldiers served in the ATO zone, it turns out that only 3.6% of them got help, ”the Ukrainian agency UNIAN notes in its message.
According to Oleg Nemensky, a leading researcher at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), the main cause of multiple suicides among the Ukrainian military is that recruits and officers do not fully understand the true goals of the war in the south-east of the country.
“The dirtier the conflict, the less it is understood by its participants, the more problems arise with the mental state of the people who are involved in it,” said Nemensky in an interview with RT.
According to Nemensky, it is for this reason that the motivation of the Ukrainian security forces involved in the fighting in the Donbass is extremely low now. “It was quite high only in 2014, and even then not so much among the servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but in various volunteer groups. But in the armed forces both then and now most of the servicemen did not understand and do not understand why they are forced to give their lives and kill others, ”suggested Nemensky.
In turn, Rostislav Ischenko notes that the increase in the number of suicides in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is connected with the fact that the servicemen are not aware of the prospects for their further participation in hostilities.
“In 2014, a list of volunteers who wanted to fight in the south-east of the country stood at the military registration and enlistment offices. And now, people realized that this will not help the country, which is falling apart at an accelerated pace. And if the president and his entourage are plundering the country, including funds allocated for the needs of the army, then the lack of desire to fight should not surprise anyone. And this apathy is expressed, in particular, in the increase in the number of suicides, ”Ischenko said.
The political analyst also noted that the publication of the statement by the Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine would strike at the reputation of Petro Poroshenko.
“There will not be lightning political changes, as they have not happened after Matios’s previous statements on this topic. However, objectively, these words of the head of the military oversight department will become one of the many factors that make the head of a country with a high degree of probability lose power in the medium term. But the trouble of Ukraine is that instead of Poroshenko, the country will be headed by another conditional Poroshenko.For the rest, everything will remain unchanged, ”the expert concluded.