The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine is reaching out to eight cryptocurrency exchanges, requesting them to cut services of Russian users amid concerns that digital currencies are being used to evade sanctions.
The ministry is sending letters to Coinbase, Binance, Huobi, KuCoin, Bybit, Gate.io and Whitebit, along with Ukrainian exchange Kuna, according to a report by CoinDesk.
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On Sunday, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation asked all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users and now the official letters are being sent to them.
Binance had no plans to unilaterally ban Russian users from the platform. However, it is taking the necessary steps to ensure that action is taken against those that have had sanctions levied against them while minimizing the impact on innocent users. If the international community widens those sanctions further, Binance will apply them aggressively as well, a Binance spokesperson told CoinDesk.
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On Monday, the US Treasury officials added regulations to prevent Russians from evading sanctions as the country continues to attack Ukraine. The new regulations prohibit the “deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent any United States sanctions, including through the use of digital currencies or assets or the use of physical assets,” according to Coindesk report.
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The Ministry of Digital Transformation in Ukraine said that the letters request the listed cryptocurrency exchanges to cease support for the Russian ruble, ruble spot pairs and fiat gateways, including Russian payment systems. The ministry is also requesting the exchanges to block all Russian customers.
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According to a statement from Coinbase, it won’t be putting any blanket bans on transactions involving Russian addresses but will block those accounts or transactions that may involve sanctioned individuals or entities. Coinbase said its “mission is to increase economic freedom and a unilateral and total ban would punish ordinary Russian citizens.”
Kraken CEO Jesse Powell also said that his exchange wouldn’t be freezing the accounts of its Russian clientele unless legally required to do so.