The grave digger wearing a t-shirt of Russia's ruling party "United Russia." (Image: social media)

Russian grave digger wearing a t-shirt of Putin's "United Russia" party. Photo: social media 

Opinion, Russian Aggression

“Tens of thousands” of Russian troops wounded in Ukraine are overwhelming their country’s medical system, one already strained by treating Covid-19 victims and the cutbacks imposed as part of Vladimir Putin’s euphemistically named “healthcare optimization,” the Insider portal says.

The situation is especially dire in Moscow and other major cities because doctors and other medical personnel there have been shifted to locations closer to the front lines. In response, the authorities have called for volunteers, including from the Orthodox Church, even though many of them lack medical training.

Related: Inter-ethnic animosity saps effectiveness of Russia’s army in Ukraine

But officials are worried because they expect the number of wounded military casualties that Russian hospitals will have to treat will “only grow.” They fear that those entering the Russian medical system will thus get care that is not as good as it should be and that those troops wounded in Ukraine may suffer more permanent consequences or even death as a result.

The Russian medical authorities are also worried that Russians who need treatment for Covid-19 and other diseases and accidents will suffer as well especially as more and more personnel are shifted to caring for the wounded.

Related: Forced conscription: how Russia wipes out the male population of occupied Donbas

The Russian medical system was never robust, but the need to treat victims of Putin’s war in Ukraine is highlighting just how close to disaster the country’s medical system has become thanks to the cutbacks the Kremlin leader has imposed in the name of saving money on social services to spend on the military and security services.

Instead of preparing the medical system to be in a position to treat those wounded in his war, Putin systemically cut it back and now Russians are seeing the consequences – a government that claims it won’t ever abandon any Russian soldier effectively abandoning many of them if they are wounded.

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