Troops on both sides of the Ukrainian conflict are suffering from “exceptional levels” of rat and mice infestation on the front lines, leading to a drop in morale and even illness, according to a British intelligence briefing released Saturday.
The rodent infestations are crushing morale, and there are unverified reports that Russian troops are suffering from infectious diseases related to the explosion in the rodent population in the trenches of eastern Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defense said.
“This year’s mild autumn, along with ample food from fields left fallow due to the fighting, have likely contributed to the increase in the rodent population,” said a Defense Ministry briefing posted on X. “As the weather has become colder, the animals are likely seeking shelter in vehicles and defensive positions. Rodents will add further pressure to front-line combatants’ morale.”
The rodents are also a threat to military equipment, the briefing said.
“In addition, they pose a risk to military equipment by gnawing through cables — as recorded in the same area during the Second World War,” the post continued.
Russian forces in the Kharkiv region in Ukraine have been dealing with outbreaks of “mouse fever,” according to reports.
Symptoms of the fever include vomiting, low blood pressure, headaches, rashes, and difficulty urinating.
The fever, a type of hantavirus, is transmitted to humans from rodents.