Ukraine crypto donations fund body armour, weapons and drones

Minister Mykhailo Federov revealed $54m breakdown of donations to combat invasion

Ukraine has $6m left of the $60m in crypto donations it has received since February – Photo:Shutterstock

Ukraine’s minister for Digital Transformation Mykhailo Federov has detailed how the nation has spent of the $60m (£50m) worth of cryptocurrency donations that it received following Russia’s invasion on 24 February.

The Ukrainian government has so far spent $54m from the Aid For Ukraine campaign on equipment and material and has $6m left at its disposal, revealed Federov in a tweet

Crypto donations fund UAVs, armoured vests and computer hardware 

Just under $12m was spent on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Commonly known as drones, UAVs have played an important role on both sides of the conflict. In addition to simple observation capabilities, the machines can also be loaded with light munitions or grenades. They can also disrupt enemy communications. 

The second-highest expenditure was on armoured vests ($6.9m), followed by computer hardware and software ($5.7m) and weapons at the request of the Ministry of Defence ($5m). 

The Aid For Ukraine project operates in conjunction with the US cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Cryptocurrency donations are given on the platform, which converts them into fiat and transfers the donations to the National Bank of Ukraine.

Federov, who has served as an adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy since 2019, hailed the Aid For Ukraine effort, stating: “Thanks to the crypto community for support since the start of the full-scale invasion! Donation by donation to the big victory.”

One prominent donor who contributed to Aid For Ukriane is Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. The Russian-Canadian donated $2.5m, which, according to the organisation, was worth 31,000 medical kits, 364,000 medical supplies, and 585 radio kits and stations for the Ukrainian military.

Ministry defends use of donations

The revelation that some funds went towards the purchase of lethal weapons may upset some donors, the Aid For Ukraine project had initially pledged to use the funds raised to buy non-lethal weapons and equipment.

Addressing this matter, Federov’s deputy Alex Bornyakov said: “We converted crypto and sent it to our Defence Ministry. They decided that they need something. We are at war and we can defend ourselves with every mean possible.” 

Responding to those raising the issue of the volte-face, Bornyakov tweeted: “I think ethical questions must be addressed to Russian people and their [government], not us.”

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