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New York Times: Retreating Ukrainian Soldiers Get Drunk, Act Like Animals



In the city of Artemivsk, where Ukrainian soldiers gathered after their retreat from Debaltseve, the harrowing human toll from the recent days of fighting was on vivid display.

Many soldiers were in a demoralized and drunken state. Shellshocked soldiers from the battle in Debaltseve wandered the streets through the day Wednesday, before beginning to drink heavily.

By Wednesday evening, gunshots were ringing out on the central square. One man stood, swaying, on the sidewalk mumbling to himself. Soldiers who had escaped from Debaltseve after weeks of shelling were commandeering taxi cabs without payment. It was not clear that all of them had been given places to sleep, and one group stood silently, shivering on a street outside the Hotel Ukraine.

And at Biblios, an upscale restaurant in Artemivsk, soldiers staggered about in the dining room, ordering brandy for which they had no money to pay, and then firing shots into the ceiling as other guests quietly fled the premises.

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