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16 May, 2024 14:15

Ukrainians who work for betting company shielded from draft – media

An internal document listing conscription exemptions has been published by an MP who is unhappy with the decision
Ukrainians who work for betting company shielded from draft – media

The Ukrainian government has granted mobilization exemptions to workers who do not appear to qualify as essential for a country at war, according to a document released by a member of parliament on Thursday, various outlets reported.

Update: Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Sviridenko wrote on Facebook on Thursday that, “due to the public backlash,” she had “canceled the order on exemptions” and that each case would be examined individually.

Ukrainian lawmaker Aleksandr Fedienko obtained the document produced last month by the Ministry of Economy. It names several companies whose employees are shielded from the draft. Examples include a sport betting-related concern and several businesses that have foreign owners.

The list includes ‘Favbet Tek’. FavBet is a major gambling operation in Ukraine, and the mentioned firm is believed to be providing it with IT services.

The local branch of the transnational American payment system Visa is also included, as is the Spanish-based courier service Glovo.

Another is AgriChain, an IT subsidiary of the Cyprus-registered Ukrainian agriculture giant Astarta. The Canadian holding Fairfax owns roughly a third of the latter, according to its website.

The list also includes an advertising agency and a single entry that seems to be defense-related – a firm making military equipment.

Fadienko, who sits on the parliamentary commission for digital transformation, said he released the document to highlight what he believes are misguided government rules for which businesses get to keep their employees. Communications companies do not get such protection and have been drained of personnel, he explained.

”They have no one to run around, doing repairs and changing batteries. The remaining workers refuse to go out, because they have no exemptions,” he said, referring to the risk of being caught by a conscription patrol on the street.

Ukraine is bracing for a radical change to its military system this month. The new rules are intended to boost mobilization rates by introducing harsh punishments for draft avoidance and imposing new responsibility on citizens to report their details to conscription offices.

The government and its Western backers claim that hundreds of thousands of people need to be drafted to relieve frontline troops. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the mobilization drive “a difficult decision, but a necessary one” during his visit to Kiev this week.

Multiple reports in Western media say the Ukrainian public is largely reluctant to heed the call to take up arms. In early May, Russia estimated that Ukrainian military losses this year alone had surpassed 111,000.

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