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Crowdfunding the Ukrainian Army (Updated)

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, March 19 2014

The "hijacked" campaign to trick Russians into supporting the Ukrainian army

After Ukraine's Defense Ministry launched their “Support Ukrainian Army” campaign, more than $1 million has been donated, a large chunk of it (more than $200,000) from individuals giving small amounts by texting '565.'

Ukrainian activist Tapac Demchuk tells techPresident that the total is closer to $2 million now.

According to Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, only 6,000 troops are ready for combat because of poor funding.

A YouTube video for the “Support Ukrainian Army” campaign:

The BBC reports that memes are circulating the Ukrainian and Russian interwebs (mostly Vkontakte, Twitter and Facebook, according to Demchuk) claiming that texting 565 will support pro-Russian forces.

Update: Although the BBC initially reported that it was not known how many people had fallen for the "hijacked campaign," Ukrainian activist Taras Revunets tells techPresident probably no one did.

"Since virtually everyone here in Ukraine had heard of the 656 number (countless TV ads)," Revunets writes, "few, if any, Russians in Ukraine would have actually fallen for it. For Russians in Russia the 656 number wouldn't work. Works for local carriers only. Crimean Russians? Maybe some. After all, they banned Ukrainian TV channels there."

Also, as of yesterday, the amount donated had passed the $1.5 million mark.

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