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Ukraine turns to crypto donations to fund its defense against Russia

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A bitcoin symbol is pictured at a cryptocurrency exchange branch near the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul on October 20, 2021.

A bitcoin symbol is pictured at a cryptocurrency exchange branch near the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul on October 20, 2021, a day after Bitcoin took another step closer to mainstream investing with the launch of a new security on Wall Street tied to futures of the cryptocurrency. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images) Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

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War is not only costly in terms of lives lost and families uprooted. It also costs in terms of paying and feeding soldiers, purchasing and maintaining military equipment, acquiring ammunition and supporting displaced people.

That’s one reason the United States and Ukraine’s allies are imposing economic sanctions on Russia — to cut off funds for war.

But the war is costly for Ukraine as well. On Saturday, Ukrainian leaders tweeted that the country was accepting donations in the form of cryptocurrency to support its military defense against the Russian invasion.

By now, the country has amassed at least $42 million in cryptocurrency, according to the research firm Elliptic. We’ll hear more from Marketplace’s Savannah Maher.

Note: This story was originally heard on “Marketplace Morning Report.” You can read the web version here.

Related links: More insight from Kimberly Adams

For the latest tally of how much the Ukrainian government has raised from its crypto callout, Elliptic is tracking that and some of the sources of the largest donations.

The government also expanded the range of crypto it will take. CNBC reports that the Ukrainians have added dogecoin to the list.

Like Savannah said, Russia could also raise funds via crypto. And as Vice reports, that has some U.S. legislators worried Russia will use cryptocurrencies in its attempts to evade sanctions. Senators including Elizabeth Warren, Mark Warner, Sherrod Brown and Jack Reed, all Democrats, wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday, asking whether Treasury has the tools it needs to detect such behavior and enforce sanctions.

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