Cryptocurrency exchange Binance refused to ‘freeze’ accounts of Russian users, despite requests coming from Ukraine, where Russian troops are currently conducting a military operation, RT reported.
“We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts,” a spokesperson for Binance told CNBC on Monday.
“Crypto is meant to provide greater financial freedom for people across the globe. To unilaterally decide to ban people’s access to their crypto would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists,” he added.
The platform’s representative noted, however, that Binance will “take action against those that have had sanctions levied against them while minimising impact to innocent users”.
The statements come after Ukraine’s vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov on Sunday urged major crypto exchanges to freeze the accounts of Russian and Belarusian politicians and “sabotage” those belonging to ordinary users.
Also read: Russia masses forces for Kyiv push as talks remain inconclusive
Separately, Jesse Powell, CEO of another major crypto platform, Kraken, said on Twitter that his company “cannot freeze the accounts of our Russian clients without a legal requirement to do so.”
Russia is facing sweeping sanctions from the US, EU and several other countries over the launch of a military campaign in Ukraine last week. While Russia says the operation’s goal is to bring peace to the Donbass region and rid Ukraine of extremist elements, many western states have accused Moscow of “unprovoked” aggression.