Pro-Russian military in Ukraine received $2.2 million in cryptocurrency donations, says Chainalysis2 min read
The war between Russia and Ukraine, which began in February of this year, encouraged donations in cryptocurrencies to the two nations that saw digital assets as a way to finance their troops.
Now, new data collected by analytics firm Chainalysis shows that Russian paramilitary groups in Ukraine received $2.2 million in cryptocurrency donations during the ongoing war.
BTC and Ether donations
According to the survey, donations were mostly in BTC. In all, Russian troops received US$1.45 million in BTC; US$590,000 in ETH; US$206,800 in USDT and TRX; $21,174 in Litecoin (LTC); and US$2,363 in Dogecoin (DOGE).
At the start of the war, several pro-Russian paramilitary groups, including volunteer groups, took to social media to ask for donations to finance military purchases.
According to Chainalysis, at least 54 organizations collectively received the cryptocurrency donations. The groups used and still use the funds to purchase equipment. In addition, they also use the donations to spread propaganda in favor of Russia.
Also according to the report, the groups use social networks to publicize, through images, the equipment acquired with the donations. At the same time, they inform how they will apply future donations.
Crypto to evade sanctions
The company also reported that, in addition to the paramilitaries, various entities and people who suffered sanctions promoted the donation of cryptocurrencies to pro-Russian forces.
As the report highlights, one such person is Alexander Zhuchkovsky, who has been sanctioned for his affiliation with the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) terrorist group.
He touted both the possibility of donating crypto to RIM and the Terricon Project. Terricon solicits donation of cryptocurrencies to support Donbas militia groups and said it is using crypto in an attempt to avoid sanctions.
Blockchain analyzes performed by Chainalysis reveal that the project receives around 11% of its funds from crypto mixers. Additionally, the project is sending 29% of its funds through a Moscow-based exchange known for laundering cryptocurrency money.
Finally, Chainalysis highlighted that the transparency of the blockchain made it possible to track these funds and identify these paramilitary groups. Meanwhile, if the negotiations were in cash, it would be more difficult to trace.
Donations to Ukraine
It is worth noting that while the $2.2 million is a significant figure, it is still small compared to what was donated in crypto to Ukraine.
The exact amounts are imprecise, but it is estimated that Ukraine has raised more than $60 million in cryptocurrency donations since Russia launched its invasion in February.