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Rising Energy Drink Addiction Among Ukraine’s Soldiers Fuels Economy

by Violet Dawson
0 comment

An Ukrainian soldier described that his day starts with an energy drink and cannot do without it during patrol and before the war

Far from the war in the forest of Western Ukraine at the Morshynska drinks factory, 16000 cans of new energy drink named Volia have become an addiction and a matter of concern for Ukraine. The energy drink addiction among the Ukraine soldiers on the field have posed a threat to their lives. 

The mini-marts and the gas stations are filled with Volia and many other energy drinks like Burn, Monster, Non Stop, Hell, Pit Bull and of course the greatest veteran of them all, Red Bull. An Ukrainian soldier described that his day starts with an energy drink and cannot do without it during patrol and before the war. The cans were found fallen everywhere and hidden in ammunition vests.

The most popular and best selling brands are cheaper and local such as Non Stop and Pit Bull while some products are also imported like Red Bull from Austria, Monster from US and Hell from Hungary. 

An infantry sergeant said that “energy drinks caused deaths, and he cited an incident where one of his subordinates was found sitting motionless in the toilet with an energy drink can in his hand, and doctors were unable to save him due to his excessive consumption of these drinks despite his suffering from heart disease.”

According to the soldiers of Ukraine their way to overcome extreme exhaustion and face harsh realities of the front line is through sugar and caffeine loaded drinks. It also helps them to cope with constant missile attacks, anxiety, and lack of sleep. Some of the soldiers even said that they would prefer an energy drink at a battle over bread. 

Ukraine at present is in the grip of the most difficult moments since Russia’s invasion over two years ago. The forces are struggling to survive and cope with the attacks across a 900 km stretch. The over exhaustion of the troops has led them to get addicted to a  growing constellation of highly caffeinated, cleverly marketed energy drinks, some of which are specifically created for this war.

Although the highlight for Ukraine despite the addiction is this phenomenon has increased sales and boosted Ukraine’s economy. The beverage market is booming and this may be one of the few silver linings for the country’s economy. A paper on industry surveys shows that since the start of the crisis, sales of energy drinks in Ukraine had soared by about 50%. New varieties and flavors have been introduced like cotton candy, cactus and even cannabis and named it like Jungle, Boost and Stalker. 

Truckloads are being purchased by individual soldiers, their units, and civilian volunteers who supply necessities to the front lines. Certain beverage producers, like IDS Ukraine, provide it at no cost. And to move it, a Ukrainian supply chain has sprang into action.

“Before the war, no one bought it on this scale,” says shopkeeper Serhii Parakhin. “Except truck drivers.”

The difference between an energy drink and soft drink is their caffeine content with What sets an energy drink apart from other soft drinks is its high caffeine content, along with additives such as taurine (an amino acid), B-12 (a vitamin) and guarana extract (from an Amazonian fruit).

Most drinks contain about 100 ml of caffeine per can which is equivalent to a cup of coffee which does not seem harmful if a single cup is consumed. But the soldiers are known to consume 10-12 cans a day which causes many health problems. An overdose of caffeine can lead to shaky hands, high blood pressure and stomach problems. A 2018 study of US soldiers found that high energy drink consumption was “significantly related” to depression, anxiety, aggressive behavior and fatigue. 

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