Ukrainian soldiers put drones and thermal imaging cameras at risk

Posted on: April 10, 2024, 4:30 am.

Last updated on: April 10, 2024, 4:31 am.

Online gambling is apparently so widespread among Ukrainian troops that a unit commander has petitioned the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to impose restrictions.

Ukrainian army, online gambling Russia-Ukraine war, Zelensky, Pavlo Petrychenko
Many Ukrainian soldiers are turning to online gambling to cope with the stress of war, according to a troop commander who has asked President Zelensky to crack down on the industry. (Image: Politico)

Commander Pavlo Petrychenko said the problem was so bad that some soldiers had resorted to pawning drones and thermal imaging devices to get more money to play with.

“For many of them, gambling becomes the only way to cope with stress and therefore quickly leads to dopamine addiction and weakens their self-control,” Petrychenko wrote in his petition registered on the presidential office website on March 29.

The commander said some soldiers spent all of their pay on gambling and then took out microloans, plunging themselves and their families into a “hole of debt.”

He also expressed concern that “many Russian online casinos target Ukrainian consumers to gain access to personal information of military personnel and other citizens.”

Last year, Ukrainian authorities said they had taken steps to block offshore casino platforms targeting the country from Russia.

Petition finds resonance

Petrychenko’s petition generated great interest among citizens of Ukraine and within hours it had collected the 25,000 signatures required for the president’s consideration.

The petition called for legislation banning gambling among military personnel during martial law and banning pawnbrokers from accepting military equipment.

It also called for a ban on advertising gambling games featuring the symbols of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as operators mentioning any charity campaigns supporting military personnel. Petrychenko complained that the operators “whitewash” their businesses with “small charitable donations.”

According to Article 93 of the Ukrainian constitution, Zelensky has the power of legislative initiative, meaning that laws proposed by the president can be immediately considered by parliament.

Will there be a tough crackdown?

On the evening of March 29, Zelensky said he had instructed the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Special Communications Service, the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council to collect all analyzes on the issue and put forward proposals Solution.

Last week Zelensky said the government was “preparing steps that will strengthen control over the industry and help protect the interests of society.”

All gambling was banned in Ukraine in 2009 after a fire in an arcade that killed nine people. However, in 2020 it was legalized again and a regulatory body, KRAIL, was created.

However, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some members of the KRAIL Committee were mobilized into the Ukrainian army, making control difficult.

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