Ukraine’s law enforcement and counterintelligence agency has successfully seized funds from a crypto-currency wallet used to finance Russia’s military campaign. Kiev officials claim that the money collected through the wallet was spent on military equipment for pro-Russian separatist forces in the east of the country.
Ukraine seizes cryptocurrency donations funding Russian invasion.
Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) has for the first time set up a mechanism to curb fundraising through crypto-currencies for troops fighting on the Russian side in the country’s ongoing hostilities. The conflict escalated into all-out war when the Russian army crossed the Ukrainian border in late February in what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in support of the pro-Russian separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
In a press release issued Tuesday, the SBU announced that a crypto-currency wallet operated by a citizen of the Russian Federation and used to sponsor the Russian military effort in Ukraine has been blocked. The man, who presented himself as a volunteer, has been collecting money for the needs of Russian forces since the invasion began.
The wallet had accumulated digital coins worth 800,000 hryvnia (nearly $22,000 at today’s rate) by the time it was blocked, the SBU said, adding that the funds have since been seized. Experts are now working to trace the related transactions and transfer custody of the funds to Ukraine. The agency did not specify how it seized the wallet, but revealed that it was assisted by foreign crypto-currency companies.
Ukrainian investigators were able to establish that the owner of the wallet spent a significant portion of the donated crypto on military supplies for separatist fighters in the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. Representatives of the Ukrainian National Police and the Prosecutor General’s Office were also involved in the operation.
Russian “volunteer” active on social media
The Russian activist has been actively seeking financial support on social media since the beginning of the latest phase of the conflict. To promote his efforts, he regularly created and published photo and video content, distributed posts published by associates and reported on the use of the funds collected, the SBU detailed without revealing the identity of the Russian.
A report by blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis revealed last month that 54 pro-Russian groups collectively received more than $2.2 million worth of crypto-currencies. These organizations, operating out of Donetsk and Luhansk, got most of the donated amounts in bitcoin and ether but also other crypto-currencies.
Ukraine itself has relied on crypto-currency donations, with the Kiev government and volunteer groups collecting digital currency to fund defense efforts. Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, recently announced on Twitter that $54 million in crypto-currencies collected through the Aid For Ukraine initiative have been spent on bulletproof vests, medicine, night sights and even vehicles for the Ukrainian military.
The Ukrainian people have also received purely humanitarian aid from the crypto community and industry. European crypto exchange Whitebit, which has Ukrainian roots, has offered to support Ukrainian refugees through its overseas representative offices, and the world’s largest currency exchange platform, Binance, has issued a special crypto card for Ukrainians forced to leave their homes.
You can support Ukrainian families, children, refugees and displaced people by donating BTC, ETH and BNB to Binance Charity’s Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund.