On Saturday, Ukraine official Twitter account issued direct appeals for cryptocurrency donations in the midst of Russia’s ongoing invasion.
The official account, @Ukraine, had shared three such messages as of press time, though the first two had been deleted. The addresses posted remained consistent – for both bitcoin and ether/USDT – though the wording of the appeals changed with each iteration. It is unclear whether the messages were deleted and reposted on purpose, or if the inclusion of cryptocurrency addresses triggered Twitter controls implemented in the aftermath of the 2020 account hacks.
The donation addresses were also shared by Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov’s verified Twitter account and Telegram channel.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation, which Fedorov leads, stated that communications channels of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine and Minister Mykhailo Fedorov are secure when reached via a press contact email listed on its website. They have not been hacked, it has been added. This is their official position and the messages they wish to convey.
“We are attempting to contribute to Ukraine’s victory and to raise international society’s awareness of what is going on in Ukraine. We will assist you in any way we can “The representative went on.
Olexander Scherba, a Ukrainian diplomat, also shared the Ukrainian account’s donation appeal. According to blockchain data, the BTC address has received a total of 9.78612041 BTC as of press time, with the first transaction occurring on February 24.
Approximately 85 ETH has been sent to the specified address. According to Etherscan data, donations have also been made in the form of USDT, USDC, and several non-fungible tokens.
Nonetheless, the messages have raised questions about their veracity, particularly given that the Russian military conducted cyberattacks during its invasion. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was among those urging caution, advising people to avoid sending donations in the absence of additional verification.
Buterin stated that there have been numerous hacks in conjunction with this invasion, and that this could easily be a hack. This information environment is as hostile as it gets, so exercise extreme caution.
Buterin later stated that he would be deleting his message, writing: “I’ve received confirmation from a couple of sources that it’s genuine. For the time being, I’m removing my warning. However, remain vigilant, and always proceed with caution when sending irreversible crypto transactions.”
Justin Sun, the founder of Tron, claimed on Twitter that he spoke with the World Trade Organization’s Ukrainian embassy and that the messages were confirmed by the embassy.
Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm that has been tracking donations during the Ukrainian invasion, announced on Saturday that $5.1 million in cryptocurrency has been donated in the last few days across nearly 3,000 donations.
When reached for comment on the donations, Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson told The Block that about $200,000 in bitcoin donations were sent to an exchange in Ukraine. “It’s a little suspicious that the funds are being transferred to an exchange so quickly,” he wrote. “I haven’t been able to verify whether this is a genuine fundraising campaign.”
The posts come as Russian invasion forces approach Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. According to reports, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has turned down US offers to evacuate.