According to data from crypto analytics firm Chainalysis, users have sent more than $2 million worth of crypto to 54 pro-Russian groups since Feb. 24, a fraction of what many Ukrainian government-controlled wallets have received.
In a Friday blog post, Chainalysis said it had tracked funds sent to social media accounts controlled by pro-Russian groups in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), USDT-TRX, and Dogecoin. (DOGE) from the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February. According to Chainalysis data, users sent approximately $2.2 million to pro-Russian groups, with more than $1 million going to a single unnamed account.
Although it is possible that there are other groups outside of the Chainalysis investigation supporting pro-Russian forces, available data suggests that the $2.2 million in donations amounted to roughly 4% of the crypto sent in support of Ukraine. Addresses from wallets connected to Aid for Ukraine, a platform backed by the government’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, showed that the organization had received more than $45 million worth of crypto since it launched in March. Cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which facilitates donations through its Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund, reported that it had received more than $10 million since February.
Both Russia and Ukraine have suffered heavy losses and casualties since the invasion began. Aid for Ukraine reported that the cryptocurrencies sent to their wallets would be used to support the country’s military, as well as humanitarian projects; Meanwhile, Chainalysis reported that the $2.2 million sent to pro-Russian groups could be used primarily for military equipment and to fund propaganda sites.
“Although significant, the $2.2 million worth of crypto donated to pro-Russian orgs still pales in comparison to the tens of millions in crypto donated to Ukraine,” Chainalysis said.
3/ How are the funds being spent?#crypto donations sent to these orgs have reportedly been used to both finance pro-Russian propaganda sites and purchase military equipment like drones, weapons, bulletproof vests, communication devices & various other supplies. pic.twitter.com/mQiJZd9ctD
— Chainalysis (@chainalysis) July 29, 2022
Donations to Ukraine have apparently been in accordance with international law. However, Chainalysis reported that about half of the cryptocurrencies sent to pro-Russian groups would be used to support military forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk territories of Ukraine’s Donbas region, areas specifically sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. , or OFAC, from the United States Department of the Treasury.
Additionally, Chainalysis reported that Russian national Alexander Zhuchkovsky, also listed as a Specially Designated National in the OFAC sanctions, has used social media channels to promote Project Terricon. The group allegedly supported Russian efforts in the war against Ukraine through crypto donations to the military in the Donbas region and the fraudulent sale of non-fungible token artwork.
Following the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic restrictions placed on Russia by the United States, many global lawmakers pointed to cryptocurrencies as a way for Russian individuals and companies to evade sanctions. Amid these moves, Russian President Vladimir Putin in July signed a bill banning digital financial assets as payments.
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