Since the war in Ukraine broke out, pro-Russia militias have received donations in digital currencies, totaling over $2.2 million. This revelation was contained in a recent report from blockchain security and analytics firm, Chainalysis which noted that up to 54 organizations have been identified to have benefitted from such donations.
Per the data shared, Bitcoin (BTC) accounted for the largest portion of the donations coming in at $1.45 million. Ethereum (ETH) accounted for $590,000 of the total funds donated while the Tron-based USDT stablecoin accounted for $206,822.70 with Litecoin (LTC) and Dogecoin (DOGE) constituting the smallest portion at $21,174.51 and $2,363.62 respectively.
“A number of volunteer groups and their supporters have taken to social media to crowdfund military purchases and the spread of disinformation by soliciting cryptocurrency donations,” the report reads, “Since the start of the war, we’ve identified 54 such organizations that have collectively received over $2.2 million worth of cryptocurrency, primarily from Bitcoin and Ether donations. Considerable quantities of Tether, Litecoin, and Dogecoin have been sent as well.”
According to Chainalysis, cryptocurrency mixers are the most prevalent avenues by which the pro-Russia militias received the donations as they significantly tried to obscure the source of the transactions.
Pro-Russia Crypto Donations and Sanctions Evasion
The report that the pro-Russia militias are receiving crypto donations in the highly contested Dombas region only confirms the concerns that Western leaders have with respect to the ongoing war.
Russia is heavily under sanctions from financial services players, and cryptocurrency exchanges are notably cautious in facilitating transactions from Russia. Based on this, independent fighter groups have turned to crypto for solace. The obscure nature of the transactions will prevent donors from being nabbed by regulators.
Dispute the fact that the $2.2 million recorded pales when compared to the more than $108 million received by Ukraine, including Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and CryptoPunks donated, the US government and other world leaders are still much concerned that Russia’s aggressions against Ukraine is still being funded one way or another.