The soldiers of Ukraine fighting with Russia are getting sick from diseases spread by rats. According to CNN, US-based news media, soldiers suffering from the disease are vomiting and bleeding from their eyes. This reduces their ability to participate in combat, reminiscent of the plague during the First World War.
Kira, a Ukrainian soldier serving in the southern region of Zaporizhzhya, described how her battalion was hit by a ‘rat plague’ on the battlefield.
Describing her own experience, Kira says, ‘Imagine going to bed and finding rats crawling under your pants or sweater or biting your fingernails or hands. Depending on how lucky you are, you might only get two to three hours of sleep.’
According to Kira, there are at least 1,000 rats in the bunker where he and the four soldiers were. He said, ‘Actually the rats did not come here to visit us but we were their guests.’
To survive the severe winters, the rats are running in search of food and warmth in the battle field of about thousand kilometers. And various diseases are spreading in it.
Kira said that she did everything possible, including applying poison and sprinkling ammonia to drive rats away from the bunker. Various rat killing products from nearby shops have been used. But it didn’t stop coming. As a result, they had to think differently.
Kira says, ‘We had a cat called Busia. He helped a lot by eating some rats in the beginning. But the number of rats increased so much that the cat could not get up anymore. A cat can catch a mouse or two but if the number is 70 then it is impractical for him.’
Videos posted by Ukrainian and Russian troops on social media show the entire battlefield. Rats foul under beds, backpacks, power generators, coat pockets and pillow covers. One video shows rats pouring out like bullets from a Russian mortar turret.
Another shows a cat trying to catch a mouse under a chair, when a soldier knocks on the seat and dozens of mice come out. The cat gives up helplessly and retreats.
Last December, Ukrainian military intelligence reported an outbreak of ‘rat fever’ in several Russian units in Kupynsk, Kharkiv region. Moscow, however, had been trying to say this for several months. According to the report, the disease spreads to humans from rodents inhaling or ingesting rat feces powder with food.
According to the Ukrainian military, the disease causes fever, rash, low blood pressure, bleeding from the eyes and vomiting. This results in kidney damage, back pain and urinary problems.
Ukrainian defense intelligence says ‘rat fever’ has severely reduced the fighting ability of Russian fighters. However, the report did not say whether the same happened to Ukrainian fighters.