Pro-Russian groups are raising funds in cryptocurrency to prop up paramilitary operations and evade U.S. sanctions as the war with Ukraine wages on, a research report published Monday revealed. As of Sept. 22, these fundraising groups had raised $400,000 in cryptocurrency since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, according to TRM Labs, a digital asset compliance and risk management company. The research revealed that groups, using encrypted messaging app Telegram, are offering ways for people to send funds which are used to supply Russian-affiliated militia groups and support combat training at locations close to the border with Ukraine. One group TRM Labs identified raising funds is Task Force Rusich which the U.S. Treasury describes as a “neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has participated in combat alongside Russia’s military in Ukraine.” The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFCA) has sanctioned Task Force Rusich. On a Telegram channel, TRM Labs discovered this group was looking to raise money for items such as thermal imaging equipment and radios.
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