According to data from crypto-analytics firm Chainalysis, users have sent more than $2 million in crypto to 54 pro-Russian groups since Feb. 24, a fraction of what many Ukrainian government-controlled wallets receive.
In a Friday blog post, Chainalysis said he had tracked funds sent to social media accounts controlled by pro-Russian groups in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (SLD), USDT-TRX and Dogecoin (DOGE) starting with the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February. According to data from Chainalysis, users sent about $2.2 million to pro-Russian groups, including more than $1 million to just one anonymous account.
While there may be other groups outside of Chainalysis’ investigation of those who support pro-Russian forces, available data suggests that the $2.2 million in donations represents around 4% of the crypto sent. to support Ukraine. Wallet addresses connected to Aid for Ukraine, a platform supported by the government’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, show the organization had received over $45 million in crypto since its launch in March. Crypto exchange Binance, which facilitates donations through its emergency relief fund for Ukraine, reported over $10 million received since February.
Russia and Ukraine have suffered heavy casualties and casualties since the start of the invasion. Aid for Ukraine said the crypto sent to its wallets 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 be used mostly for military hardware and to fund propaganda sites.
“While significant, the $2.2 million in crypto donated to pro-Russian organizations still pales in comparison to the tens of millions of crypto donated to Ukraine,” Chainalysis said.
3/ How are the funds spent?#Crypto donations sent to these organizations were reportedly used both to fund pro-Russian propaganda sites and to purchase military equipment such as drones, weapons, body armor, communication devices and various other supplies. pic.twitter.com/mQiJZd9ctD
— Chainalysis (@chainalysis) July 29, 2022
Donations to Ukraine have apparently complied with international law. However, Chainalysis reported that around half of the crypto sent to pro-Russian groups would be used to support military forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk territories of Ukraine’s Donbass region – areas specifically sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, of the United States Department of the Treasury.
Additionally, Chainalysis reported that Russian national Alexander Zhuchkovsky, also listing as a Specially Designated National on OFAC Sanctions, used social media to promote Project Terricon. The group is said to have supported Russian efforts in the war against Ukraine through crypto donations for the army in the Donbass region and fraudsters sale of non-fungible token masterpieces.
Following the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic restrictions imposed on Russia by the United States, many world lawmakers targeted crypto as a means for Russian individuals and companies to potentially escape sanctions. Amid these measures, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill banning digital financial assets as payments in July.