Crypto Exchanges to Freeze Russian Accounts on Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister’s Request

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Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Digital Transformation, Myknailo Fedorov, has requested crypto exchanges to freeze the accounts of crypto users from Russia and Belarus. The vice prime minister made this plea through his tweet on Feb 27.

In his tweet, Fedorov said he is asking that all major crypto exchanges block the wallet addresses of Russian users. He added that his request to the crypto exchanges was not to freeze only the accounts owned by the Russian and Belarusian politicians but also the accounts linked to the ordinary citizens.

In response to the plea made by Fedorov, the CEO of Kraken, Jesse Powell, stated that such a request cannot be granted without legal backing ordering exchanges to act accordingly. He, however, alerted Russian users of the possibility of such action, saying the order could be imminent.

The Necessity of My Request 

Fedorov stressed that his appeal to the crypto exchanges to block Russian and Belarusian users’ accounts was necessary as his country has been on a marathon war since last week with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian troops late last week. The war has escalated as the Russian armed forces have advanced into Kyiv and bombed many military installations in the country’s capital.

In an expression of hope that significant crypto exchanges will act accordingly, Fedorov hailed DMarket, an NFT platform, on their move to freeze customers’ accounts linked to Russian and Belarusian users. DMarket, while confirming the action added that users’ assets would remain in their accounts untouched, but access to them will be limited.

Russia out of SWIFT

The request of the Fedorov came after the plan of the United States and the European Union to cut off a yet-to-be-named set of Russian banks from the international messaging system, SWIFT, was revealed. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial telecommunications – SWIFT – is a messaging network for payment orders. The network connects more than a thousand financial institutions globally.

The group, which consists of the European Commission, Italy, Germany, the United States, France,

the United Kingdom, and Canada, have expressed their strong commitment to ensuring that the targeted Russian banks are cut off from the SWIFT messaging network. They claimed that the above action would confirm that the selected banks are removed from the international financial system and limit their global operational ability.

More sanctions to be imposed on Russia by the group include a limit to the sale of citizenship to wealthy Russian citizens. Regrettably, these sanctions were necessary as the Russia-Ukraine war escalated. As the war continues, the Russian currency, the Rouble, has plunged deeply low in the financial markets, spurring fears of a bank run in Russia amidst more sanctions from the group.

That notwithstanding, following the appeal for support by the Ukrainian government through its official Twitter account, over $10 million in bitcoin, ether, and USDT has been donated by individuals, businesses, and financial institutions to help Ukraine wage war against Russia.  


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