Pro-Russian groups collected only 4% of crypto donations sent to Ukraine

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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 the amount received by many wallets operated by the Ukrainian government.

In a blog post Friday, Chainalysis said it tracked money sent to social media accounts operated by pro-Russian groups in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), USDT-TRX and Dogecoin. (DOGE) beginning with the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February. According to Chainalysis’s data, users sent about $2.2 million to the pro-Russian groups, with over $1 million going into a single unnamed account.

While there may be other groups outside of Chainalysis’s investigation of those supporting pro-Russian forces, available data suggested the $2.2 million in donations amounted to about 4% of the crypto sent in support of Ukraine. Wallets linked 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 in crypto since its March launch. Crypto exchange Binance, which facilitates donations through the Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund, reported receiving more than $10 million since February.

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Both Russia and Ukraine have suffered heavy losses and casualties since the invasion began. Aid for Ukraine reported that crypto sent to his wallet would be used to support the country’s military and humanitarian projects; Meanwhile, Chainalysis reported that the $2.2 million sent to pro-Russian groups could mainly be used for military equipment and to fund propaganda sites.

“Although significant, the $2.2 million in crypto donated to pro-Russian organizations still pales in comparison to the tens of millions in crypto donated to Ukraine,” Chainalysis said.

The donations to Ukraine are apparently in accordance with international law. However, Chainalysis reported that about half of the crypto sent to the pro-Russian groups would be used to support armed forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of the Donbas region of Ukraine — areas specifically sanctioned by the United Nations. Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, at United States Department of the Treasury.

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In addition, Chainalysis reported that Russian citizen Alexander Zhuchkovsky, also listed as a Specially Designated Citizen due to OFAC sanctions, has used social media channels to promote the Terricon project. The group reportedly supported Russian efforts in the war against Ukraine through crypto donations to the military in the Donbas region and the fraudulent sale of irreplaceable symbolic artworks.

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Following the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent economic restrictions imposed on Russia by the United States, many global lawmakers turned to crypto as a way for Russian individuals and companies to potentially evade sanctions. Amid these measures, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill in July banning digital financial assets as payment.

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