OFAC and Department of State Sanction Nearly 300 Individuals and Entities Involved in Russia’s War Machine, One Known to Have Accepted Crypto

On May 1, 2024, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of State sanctioned approximately 300 individuals and entities for their role in facilitating Russian weapons production and sanctions evasion. Today’s designated actors operated on behalf of Russia’s military sector, and were involved in procurement of technology and other equipment related to weapons and defense production used against Ukraine. Parts of the facilitation network sanctioned today include China-based companies. 

One entity in today’s designation, OKO Design Bureau, was a developer of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in particular, one-way attack UAVs. This entity operated a Telegram channel where it solicited donations in crypto. As we see in the below screenshots, which have been translated from original text in Russian, these addresses are listed underneath detailed descriptions and videos of their operations, including testing with the Russian Ministry of Defense, and usage of their UAVs against Ukraine. However, OKO Design Bureau had limited success in their Telegram crypto donation efforts, amounting to well under $1,000 in total collection.

OKO Design Bureau’s total crypto activities were limited, but this is not the first time Chainalysis has observed Russian militia groups explicitly detailing their war efforts while soliciting crypto donations. This also wasn’t the first designation from OFAC regarding Russian militia campaigns accepting crypto — for example, Task Force Rusich was designated in September 2022.

Today’s joint actions illustrate OFAC’s continued efforts to combat both crypto-related and non-crypto-related Russia-based crimes, and to cease operations of entities in other countries that are enabling Russia. We will continue to pay attention to crypto transactions as they relate to Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

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