Kraken ceases crypto services for Russians amid EU sanctions

abdelaziz Fathi

Complying with the latest EU sanctions targeting Russia, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken started to restrict or terminate services for Russian accounts. The move follows the adoption of new European penalties in response to Moscow’s military escalation in Ukraine.

About two weeks after the European Union introduced another set of measures aimed at hurting Russia’s finances, Kraken sent out emails to inform its Russian clients that the exchange is halting services to them.

“Due to the new European legislation, we have to take measures to restrict your Kraken account. We will update our support center if there are any changes. We apologize for the inconvenience caused,” the company said in a letter directed towards its users.

The crypto exchange will, however, continue to allow Russians to withdraw their funds though it didn’t specify whether there’s a time limit.

“Since the EU’s announcement, we have been working to make the changes needed to comply with the latest package of sanctions against Russia,” the statement further notes.

Kraken follows in the steps taken by well-known cryptocurrency platforms who have started to restrict or terminate services for Russian accounts. Localbitcoins, Blockchain.com, and Crypto.com and many others sent out notices informing customers that due to the EU sanctions, they are unable to provide their services to Russian nationals.

Each platform asked affected users to withdraw their funds by the end of October, after which date their accounts will be blocked. However, some exchanges made an exception for users that hold a passport issued by a country from the European Economic Area and those who have a permanent residence permit in these jurisdictions.

Earlier this month, the EU has tightened an already prohibition on providing digital-asset services to Russia. It has imposed a sweeping ban on providing crypto services to Russians, meaning they won’t be able to hold any assets in EU crypto wallets unless they live in the bloc.

The prohibition forms part of the eighth package of restrictive measures announced by the EU against Russia as it seeks to respond to “sham” independence votes being held in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.

This package’s other financial restrictions include a price cap on Russian oil, a ban on exporting aviation items and electronic components and restrictions on importing Russian goods that would deprive the country of seven billion euros.

Before the recent rules, European crypto providers were allowed to provide Russian residents and entities with limited crypto payments of up to 10,000 euros ($9,900).

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