Crypto plays a vital role in shaping the modern-day war. It is used to buy weapons and boost the morale of combatants – and in this scenario – mercenaries who are just out there to add to an ongoing bloodshed.
On Friday, the United States Treasury Department stated that 22 persons and two businesses with ties to the Russian government had been added to the Office of Foreign Assets Control blacklist in reaction to the ongoing Russian military assault of Ukraine.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has included an alleged neo-Nazi paramilitary group that it claims was participating in military offensives with Russia’s military in Ukraine on its list of sanctioned entities for their support of Russia’s ongoing invasion.
OFAC has added five cryptocurrency addresses to its list of sanctioned entities, all of which are associated with a Russian organization known as “Task Force Rusich.”
According to The Times, Rusich – a band of neo-Nazi Russian mercenaries led by a commander who has boasted about ripping the ears off enemy bodies – has been stationed in eastern Ukraine to fight alongside its Russian military comrades.
Preventing Crypto From Reaching Russian Mercenary Hands
According to data compiled by blockchain analytics firm Nansen, thousands of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency was sent to these addresses.
The latest action is coordinated with the efforts taken by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State.
While the State Department is going after Russia’s defense and high-tech businesses, the DOC is imposing additional export control measures in coordination with relevant departments.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated that the sanctions were implemented in an effort to make Russia pay for the “war crimes, atrocities, and aggression” it has committed.
The sanctions list is also meant to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin economically and stop Russia from using cryptocurrency or other means to pay its military. The group’s Bitcoin, Ether, and USDT were associated with specific addresses.
Bitcoin Is Top Crypto Flowing Through Entities With Russian Ties
Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm, stated in July that organizations with Russian connections had collected $2 million in cryptocurrencies, the vast bulk of which had been sent in Bitcoin ($1.45 million) and Ethereum ($590,000). Tether, Litecoin, and Dogecoin were all used to send sizeable sums.
Russia has been forced to develop other payment and transaction systems as a result of the U.S. Treasury and other government agencies cracking down on the flow of cryptocurrency into the nation.
Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen issued the following statement:
“The United States will continue to take strong actions to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes, atrocities and aggression… we’re taking steps to further degrade Russia’s ability to rebuild its military, hold perpetrators of violence accountable, and further financially isolate Putin.”
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of Her Majesty’s Treasury determined last week that crypto exchanges must notify any cryptocurrencies suspected of being used to circumvent Russian sanctions.
The OFSI announced the “freeze of financial and economic resources” against anyone who work to destabilize or undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and assist the Russian government.
Crypto total market cap at $927 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com Featured image from The Times, Chart: TradingView.com