Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine get their salaries and combat allowance through Gazprombank, the only large non-sanctioned Russian bank, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported on June 28, with reference to the Skhemy (Schemes) investigation project.
According to the Skhemy journalists, Gazprombank, which services European money transactions for Russian gas and oil, also serves as a wallet for the Russian army's salary payments as it wages its aggressive war against Ukraine.
The journalists were able to identify servicemen from various Russian units who are receiving money from Gazprombank for participating in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine.
The earliest confirmation that the Russian military receives a salary through Gazprombank dates back to 2015.
In 2016, Gazprombank in its report announced it was issuing a bank card with the Russian army logo.
In 2017, a message appeared on the online forum of mothers of servicemen of the 27th separate motorized rifle brigade, where one of the women complained about the difficulties with money transfers from a Gazprombank card.
The systematic cooperation of this bank with Russia's Defense Ministry is also indicated by an article from 2020 on the issuance of a Gazprombank salary card to servicemen. The following year, the bank also announced the possibility of paying salaries to Russian soldiers.
After the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military continued to receive salaries and combat allowances through this bank.
On the VKontakte social network, the journalists found a group for Russian servicemen called Nachfin.info. In this group, the journalists found a discussion about the payment of cash allowance to soldiers.
Soldiers' wives are the main participants in the discussion. In particular, they discuss whether their husbands have been paid salaries and combat allowances through Russian banks, such as Sberbank, VTB, Promsvyazbank, and Gazprombank. All banks, except the latter, are under severe sanctions.
The messages at the forum indicate that the Russian military are still receiving their salaries.
The journalists also managed to identify some forum participants and their husbands on social networks and find evidence of their presence in Ukraine during the full-scale invasion.
Gazprombank is one of the three largest Russian banks. The European Union and the United States have imposed severe sanctions against the two other largest banks, Sberbank and VTB, as well as a dozen other Russian financial institutions.
Gazprombank has faced only sectoral sanctions with insignificant impact on its operating activities.
In April this year, Gazprombank Vice President Igor Volobuev, a native of Okhtyrka in Sumy Oblast, left Russia to return to Ukraine. Later he joined Ukraine's territorial defense forces.