The European Union has increased its sanctions against Russia to include high-value crypto-assets services.
Following the invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has taken further steps to sanction Russia. Today, the EU announced that it has placed a ban on providing high-value cryptoasset services to Russia.
This prohibition is part of the fifth set of restrictive measures that the EU has announced against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022.
“The European Commission is pleased that the Council has agreed to adopt a fifth set of restrictive measures against Putin’s regime as a response to the brutal aggression directed against Ukraine and its citizens,” reads a press release posted on the website.
According to the press release, the EU’s new ban on crypto-related transactions will “contribute towards closing potential loopholes.”
Other financial restrictions included a “full transactions ban and asset freeze on the assets of four Russian banks,” which is now completely cut off from the market.
To make it harder for wealthy Russians to save their wealth in the EU, a ban has been placed on financial advice.
Security and cryptography
Many voices raised concerns over Russia’s possible use of cryptocurrency to avoid economic sanctions in the wake of Russia’s invasion Ukraine earlier this year.
Although cryptocurrencies can’t allow Russia–the country-state–to completely blunt the power of economic sanctions, certain sanctioned Russian entities may be able to pivot to crypto for economic lifeline.
You can do this in many ways, such as ransomware. The ransomware industry made more money for Russian-affiliated criminals in 2021 than any other group . A UN report recently found that North Korea, which is likely to face more sanctions than any other country in the world, partially funded its nuclear ambitions using cryptocurrencies.
Crane Hassold is a former FBI agent who is currently Director of Threat Intelligence for cloud security firm Abnormal Security. He previously stated Decrypt cryptocurrencies are the “primary element” in today’s ransomware market.
There are also other methods, such as Bitcoin mining–an area in Vladimir Putin’s great books–and non-compliant cryptocurrency exchanges. This strategy is well-established.
The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned crypto exchange SUEX in September 2013 as an entity that was involved or complicit with cyber-related activities against American interests.