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Russia Using Crypto To Fund Military Operations

A new research report claims that Russia is increasingly raising funds in cryptocurrencies to pay for military operations and evade economic sanctions as the war in Ukraine drags on.

As of September 22, various pro-Russian fundraising groups had raised $400,000 U.S. in cryptocurrencies, according to TRM Labs, a digital asset compliance and risk management firm.

The research reveals that groups, using encrypted messaging app Telegram, are offering ways for people to send funds that are used to supply Russian militia groups and support combat training at locations near the Ukrainian border.

One group TRM Labs identifies is called “Task Force Rusich,” which the U.S. Treasury has described as a “neo-Nazi paramilitary group.”

On a Telegram channel, TRM Labs discovered the group was looking to raise money through cryptocurrencies to purchase items such as thermal imaging equipment and radios.

The Novorossia Aid Coordinating Center, which was set up in 2014 to support Russian military operations in Ukraine, recently raised $21,000 U.S. in cryptocurrency, mainly Bitcoin (BTC), to help pay for drones, according to the report.

Russia was hit by numerous economic sanctions after its invasion of Ukraine that aim to cut it off from the global financial system.

However, Russia has increasingly used cryptocurrencies to evade those penalties and is relying on sympathizers to move money on a small scale to help its military purchase needed equipment.

Ukraine has also been relying on cryptocurrencies, taking donations via digital coins and tokens to help fund its military, as well as humanitarian aid efforts.