Ukraine’s deputy premier has urged cryptocurrency exchanges to suspend Russian accounts

Ukraine’s deputy premier and minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, has urged cryptocurrency exchanges to suspend the accounts of Russian and Belarusian users.

Fedorov made the request on Twitter on February 27, after several days of fierce combat in Ukraine following the invasion by Russian soldiers late last week.

“I’m requesting that all major cryptocurrency exchanges prohibit addresses associated with Russian users,” Fedorov added. “It is critical to block not just addresses associated with Russian and Belarusian leaders, but also ones associated with regular individuals.”

Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, stated today that such a move could not be made “without a legal mandate,” but added that Russian consumers should be aware that such an order “may be forthcoming.”

Fedorov subsequently welcomed a move by NFT platform DMarket to freeze accounts belonging to Russian and Belarusian consumers. DMarket verified this a few hours earlier on Twitter, noting that members’ assets remain in their accounts but their access has been restricted.

Fedorov’s appeal comes days after the United States and European Union announced a combined decision to exclude some Russian banks from SWIFT, the international payments messaging system, and to freeze the central bank’s abroad assets.

The Russian rouble fell to a historic low Wednesday morning, igniting worries of a bank run in the nation. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has received more than $10 million in bitcoin, ether, and USDT since its official Twitter account issued a call for assistance on February 26.

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