Friday, June 14, 2024

Out of the slaughterhouse, into the ‘meatgrinder’ for Ukraine’s recruits

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In such an environment, it is no surprise that today’s Ukrainian army now also has psychologists as well as old-school chaplains.

“A lot of people have just seen too many dead or injured,” says Julia (not her real name), 28, the 22nd’s resident shrink, who operates from a practice in an abandoned home. “It’s especially traumatic for people who’ve recently mobilised and haven’t yet experienced combat, then suddenly they see something horrible.

“We remind them to think of themselves, not of comrades who’ve been killed, as if they live only in that world of the dead, their minds can get stuck there forever.”

Tough as it is on the newcomers, longer-serving troops are desperate for others to take over. While their minds and bodies may still be just about intact, marriages are often fraying.

Bodies and minds

“Some are just saying: ‘I’ve done enough, I’ve fought here for two years’,” said Vladislav Pinchuk, a 31-year-old commander fighting in Chasiv Yar.

“They also come under pressure from their wives, who have friends whose husbands have worked out how to be transferred off frontline duty, and ask their own partners why they can’t do the same. The husbands say: ‘Look, we are killing Russians and this is an important job

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