The U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions have continued to target digital assets, this time seeking to cut off funding to a Russian paramilitary group involved in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Treasury issued sanctions against Task Force Rusich, a “neo-Nazi paramilitary group” which it claims has been fighting Russia’s battles since 2015.
Rusich is heavily involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with one of its leaders, Alexey Yurevich Milchakov, wounded in the group’s initial combat near Kharkiv, Ukraine. Its other leader and lead military trainer, Yan Igorevich Petrovskiy, was expelled from Norway in 2016 after he was declared a threat to national security.
Rusich’s aggression against Ukraine stretches back seven years, with the press release stating, “…in 2015, Rusich mercenaries were accused of, and filmed, committing atrocities against deceased and captured Ukrainian soldiers.”
Rusich was sanctioned “for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, activities that undermine the peace, security, political stability, or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies, or its partners, for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the Government of Russia.”
Treasury sanctioned five digital asset addresses—two BTC addresses, two ETH addresses, and one Tether address. Collectively, the addresses have been used to move thousands of dollars, with one of them being used as recently as last week on September 14.
“The United States will continue to take strong actions to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes, atrocities and aggression,” commented Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
The U.S. has been doubling down on sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February in what it insists is a “special operation” and not war. These sanctions first targeted financial institutions and wealthy oligarchs with links to President Vladimir Putin.
However, Treasury soon expanded its targets to include digital asset wallets, addresses, and even companies. These included BitRiver, a Russian block reward miner that had partnerships with some of the biggest miners, including Compass Mining and SBI Crypto.
The sanctions by Treasury have been apt, especially in light of recent news that Russia is eyeing digital assets for cross-border payments.
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