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Pro-Russian Groups Using Crypto to Raise Funds for Military Operations

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Pavan A Follow

INDIA

Oct, 04 2022

Oct, 04 2022

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Cryptocurrency intelligence firm TRM Labs warns that pro-Russian groups are using crowdfunding to evade U.S. sanctions and aid paramilitary operations in war-torn Ukraine. According to an in-depth investigation, pro-Russian groups are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars using cryptocurrencies. 


TRM Labs, a digital asset compliance and risk management company, reported that these fundraising groups had raised $400,000 in cryptocurrencies since the invasion began on February 24. 


By sending funds through the encrypted messaging app Telegram, groups are offering ways for people to send funds used for training Russian-affiliated militias near the Ukrainian border and to supply them with supplies. 


In an interview with CNBC, TRM Labs' head of global investigations Chris Janczewski said, “As of last week, we identified about $400,000 that have been raised since the beginning of the invasion in February.” 

Janczewski mentions Task Force Rusich, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group that the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) describes as a "neo-Nazi paramilitary group that fought with Russian forces in Ukraine." 


After its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine this year, Russia faced a number of sanctions that prevented it from interacting with the global financial system. Although Russian officials had the option of evading these penalties with cryptocurrency, experts said the cryptosystem did not have enough liquidity to handle money movements. In contrast, paramilitary groups transfer money on a smaller scale, which is sufficient to purchase the items they need. 


Although pro-Russian groups are raising relatively small amounts of money compared to the millions of dollars Ukraine has received as crypto donations since the start of the war, Janczewski believes it is a signal of what is to come. 

 


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Pavan A

CBW - External Analyst

INDIA

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