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Kyiv also reportedly believes pro-Russian groups in the country are using cryptocurrency to support rebels.12 March 2018
A Ukrainian who negotiated prisoner exchanges has been accused of trying to assassinate President Petro Poroshenko and other high officials.
When law enforcement agents detained Volodymyr Ruban (pictured) on 8 March at a checkpoint in the partly rebel-held Donbas region, they found assault rifles, light machine guns, pistols, and more than 50 mines in his van, as well as anti-tank weapons, grenades, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) head Vasyl Hrytsak said. Some of the weaponry was Russian-made.
Ruban first smuggled weapons into government-held areas in November, The Kyiv Post cites Hrytsak as saying.
Ruban heads a civic organization that organized prisoner-of-war swaps between separatist and government forces, Reuters reports.
At a 9 March meeting with Hrytsak, Poroshenko said Ruban was part of a criminal group that planned “large-scale terrorist acts.”
Ukraine also suspects pro-Russian groups of using cryptocurrency to finance the separatists, Politico contributor Vijai Maheshwari writes.
One such allegation came after Ukrainian police seized more than $4 million (3.2 million euros) of computer equipment used to mine cryptocurrency in a February raid on a semiconductor plant in Kyiv. Officials said details of accounts in Russian banks were also found, and claimed profits from the mining operation were transferred to the Donbas.
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