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General Staff denies "two-three suicides a week"

The chief military prosecutor was wrong.

General Staff denies "two-three suicides a week"
Oleh Hruntkovskyy

The General Staff of the Armed Forces has classified information on the number of suicides in the army, but it said that it certainly did not amount to two or three cases per week, as chief military prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said earlier. 

Oleh Hruntkovskyy, the head of the main department for moral and psychological support of the Armed Forces, made this statement at a briefing on 23 February.

"Recently, some media have been circulating somewhat distorted reports. The reports that two to three servicemen on average commit suicide in the Donbas combat zone on a weekly basis are not true," he said.

He did not disclose suicide statistics, saying it is classified. "This information is for official use," he said, adding that it is not at variance with the law "On access to public information".

Hruntkovskyy said that the suicide rate in Ukraine is 0.007% per 100,000 military, which corresponds to the world practice, according to RBC Ukraine.

According to him, during the war in Iraq, the suicide rate for NATO member states' servicemen was 0.026% and during the war in Afghanistan, the Soviet army's rate was 0.29%.

"The number of crimes and incidents in the Armed Forces has decreased by 41% compared with the same period of the previous year. The number of evasion cases has decreased. Drugs crimes have decreased by 16%. For reasons unrelated to the performance of assigned tasks, the death rate among servicemen has increased by 3%. Today, the rate of deaths as a result of motorway accidents remained at the last year level. The rate of deaths caused by violation of safety rules has decreased by 24%," he said.

Hruntkovskyy also noted that the statistics of military suicides this year has not changed much compared with the same period in 2017.

"The most sensitive problem is the loss of personnel due to suicides. The number of suicides in the army went down by 20% in 2016-2017. At the same time, this problem is in the focus of attention of chiefs on all levels. In Ukraine, the suicide rate is 0.007% per 100,000 military, which corresponds to the world practice. The cases of "bringing to suicide" have not been registered," Hruntkovskyy said.

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