Zelensky takes action to stop Ukrainian military gambling epidemic

(MENAFN) Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has taken decisive action to address what has been described as a concerning gambling epidemic within the country's military ranks. In response to reports of widespread addiction among Ukrainian soldiers, Zelensky introduced a series of restrictions on internet casinos aimed at curbing excessive gambling behavior.

Developed by the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (SNBO), the new measures include regulations requiring online casinos to limit the amount of time and money spent by users, as well as prohibiting the creation of multiple accounts. Additionally, a state monitoring system for online gambling will be established, with instructions for a government electronic communications watchdog to block access to illegal gambling websites.

One significant aspect of the initiative is the directive for the head of the armed forces, Aleksandr Syrsky, and other commanders to implement an immediate ban on access to gambling establishments and online gambling for military personnel, particularly while martial law remains in effect.

The decision to implement these measures follows alarming reports of gambling addiction among Ukrainian soldiers. Ukrainian MP Aleksey Goncharenko raised concerns in late March, stating that a significant portion of frontline soldiers were grappling with gambling-related problems, with some spending their entire salaries on gambling activities and accruing substantial debts as a result.

Goncharenko emphasized the detrimental impact of gambling addiction on the morale of the military, highlighting the vulnerability of financially-strained soldiers to exploitation by criminal recruiters upon their return from the frontlines. Despite the severity of the issue, the Ukrainian high command refrained from commenting, while some middle-ranking commanders sought to minimize its significance.

Zelensky's proactive stance reflects a commitment to addressing social and psychological challenges faced by Ukrainian military personnel, particularly in the context of ongoing conflict and martial law. By implementing stricter regulations on gambling, the government aims to safeguard the well-being of soldiers and maintain operational readiness within the armed forces. The effectiveness of these measures in mitigating gambling addiction and protecting military personnel remains to be seen as the implementation process unfolds.



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