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Anti-war Russians start donating crypto to support Ukraine


While the West is growing increasingly concerned over Russia’s potential use of cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions, some Russians are using their Bitcoin (BTC) to help Ukrainian people.

Pavel Muntyan, a renowned Russian animation producer and creator of the animated web series “Mr. Freeman,” has called on anti-war Russians to support Ukrainian citizens amid Russia’s ongoing military attack on the country.

Muntyan took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce the opening of a cryptocurrency donation address for Russians who want to support Ukrainian people anonymously as Russia has banned its citizens from helping people in Ukraine.

On Feb. 27, Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office officially warned that any assistance to Ukrainians amid Russia’s “special operation” in the country would be considered high treason, with Russians risking being jailed for up to 20 years.

As such, Muntyan is now urging Russians to provide financial support to those who have suffered from operations of Russia’s military. Using his crypto address, Russians can now donate in any tokens on blockchains like the Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, Ethereum, HECO and Avalanche without disclosing their identity, he wrote:

“Now you can help Ukraine and do it anonymously. With the help of crypto. All the money will be used to provide Ukrainian civilians with essential goods, as well as to support the families of soldiers of the Ukrainian army.”

He stressed that raised funds only target help to innocent people and do not intend to be used to support any military operations. 

At the time of writing, the donation address holds about $1,500 in Ether (ETH) and about $350,000 in Tether (USDT) stablecoin.

The Ukrainian government alongside several crypto companies have established multiple cryptocurrency donation channels to support Ukrainian people amid Russia’s military invasion in the country. As of Monday, the amount of public crypto donations sent to the Ukrainian government, military and charities was nearing $40 million.

Mr. Freeman is a fictional character in Muntyan’s eponymous animation series that is known for promoting principles of freedom as well as criticizing the lifestyle of modern everyman. The series has over 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, viewed over 150 million times at the time of writing.

Muntyan has been deeply into the crypto industry before, introducing his own cryptocurrency in collaboration with Free TON, one of crypto initiatives that spun out from Telegram’s original Telegram Open Network project. He’s also into nonfungible tokens (NFT), launching several NFT drops on platforms like OpenSea.

Apart from involvement in crypto, Muntyan is known for supporting opponents of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Related: Experts reject concerns Russia will use crypto to bypass sanctions: ‘Totally unfounded’

The latest news comes amid the West getting increasingly concerned over Russians moving into crypto to evade massive sanctions against Russian companies and ordinary Russian people.

France’s finance minister declared on Wednesday that the European Union is working to address Russia’s potential use of cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions imposed on it following its operations in Ukraine. Previously, the United States Treasury Department warned the U.S.-based companies and individuals not to handle crypto transactions sent to certain Russian nationals and banks.