A New York Times report detailed how Ukrainian soldiers are coping with the mental trauma of war.
One soldier who has nightmares said he saw evacuation vehicles mistakenly drive over wounded soldiers.
“I remember the faces of all our dead comrades,” another Ukrainian soldier told the Times.
A Ukrainian sergeant said at times there were so many wounded soldiers on the battleground that the vehicles evacuating them were accidentally driving over bodies, according to a report published in The New York Times on Tuesday.
The sergeant, 28-year-old Vladyslav Ruziev, was among the Ukrainian soldiers who told the Times they were traumatized by what they’d seen in the ongoing war with Russia. Ruziev said he has recurring nightmares about when his unit faced constant attacks from Russian troops during the freezing winter, with many soldiers losing limbs.
“Sometimes the ground was so thick with the wounded that the evacuation vehicles drove over their bodies by mistake in the chaos,” he said.
Estimates suggest more Russians have died fighting in Ukraine than Ukrainians have, but the war has been costly for both sides. Experts have also said morale, and the willingness to rescue injured soldiers, has been higher on the Ukrainian side, but Ukraine has experienced heavy casualties, especially since launching its slow-moving counteroffensive in June.
The lack of progress and the number of wounded Ukrainian soldiers have started to take a toll on the country’s morale, The Washington Post reported last week. Ruslan Proektor, a 52-year-old Ukrainian soldier who lost his leg to a land mine, told the outlet that he regretted going to war and would not volunteer again.
“They are taking everyone and sending them to the front line without proper preparation,” he told the Post. “I don’t want to be in the company of unmotivated people.”
The physical and mental toll of the war on Ukrainians has been worsened by Russia’s prolific use of land mines, which has caused an increasing number of servicemen and civilians to undergo amputations. The Wall Street Journal reported 20,000 to 50,000 Ukrainians have lost limbs since the war began.
Tanisha Fazal, a professor at the University of Minnesota who studies medical care in war, told Insider that soldiers today are surviving injuries they would not have survived in the past, which adds to the mental health challenges countries face once the fighting has ended.
“This is going to be a long-term cost of war for the Ukrainians,” Fazel said of the land mines and amputations, adding: “This is something that’s going to have to be part of rebuilding in Ukraine, dealing with veterans but also I think probably civilians with serious wartime injuries, both physical and mental.”
The Times reported Ukraine is no longer able to keep up with treating the psychological trauma that its soldiers have experienced. There are some treatment centers that focus on both physical wounds and mental trauma, but some Ukrainian soldiers struggling with their mental health do not always seek out treatment.
A 35-year-old soldier, who told the outlet most of the men in his unit had been killed, said one night he woke up and attacked his roommate, thinking he was a Russian soldier.
“I cry sometimes. When I’m falling asleep, I can visualize it all over again,” he said, adding, “I remember the faces of all our dead comrades.”
Read the original article on Business Insider