TREASURY DEPARTMENT, MEMBERS OF THE SANCTIONED GROUP FOUGHT ALONGSIDE RUSSIA’S MILITARY
The United States Treasury Department has added five cryptocurrency addresses linked to a neo-Nazi group involved in Russia's war against Ukraine to the list of entities sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
In an announcement Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department placed 22 individuals and 2 entities, including multiple government agencies, that it said had advanced the Russian government's goals in Ukraine, on its list of Specially Designated Nationals, effectively barring U.S. persons and companies from doing business with them. The sanctions against one of the entities – a neo-Nazi paramilitary group called Task Force Rusich – included 2 cryptocurrency addresses for Bitcoin (BTC), 2 for Ether (ETH) and 1 for Tether (USDT).
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the sanctions were imposed as part of the administration's efforts to "hold Russia accountable for its war crimes, atrocities and aggression," to financially isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin and prevent the country from funding the military. On Monday, the Ukrainian army took back part of the territory east of the city of Kharkiv, which had been occupied by Russian forces for several months.
According to the Treasury Department, Task Force Rusich fought alongside the Russian military in Ukraine, including near recently acquired territory, and had mercenaries accused of "committing atrocities against dead and captured Ukrainian soldiers" in 2015 during the conflict in the Donbas region. The department alleged that the neo-Nazi group was responsible or complicit in actions that "undermine the peace, security, political stability, or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies, or its partners" for the benefit of the Russian government.
Since February, when the Russian military launched its invasion of Ukraine, the US government and many officials in Europe have imposed sanctions aimed at weakening the country's economy and penalizing wealthy individuals. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department also announced that it had sanctioned 7 BTC addresses allegedly linked to 2 Iranian nationals who were part of a ransomware group.