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Visa and Mastercard are suspending operations in Russia, as President Vladimir Putin ratchets up his bloody invasion of Ukraine.
Visa said on Saturday that it would cut off transactions “over the coming days”, adding that once the ban is in place cards issued in Russia won’t work abroad, and foreign-issued cards won’t work inside Russia either.
“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” Visa CEO Al Kelly said in a statement.
Mastercard quickly followed suit, calling the Russian war on Ukraine “shocking and devastating”. Mastercard’s ban will be similar to Visa’s.
“With this action, cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by the Mastercard network. And, any Mastercard issued outside of the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs,” the company said in a statement.
“These have been and will continue to be very difficult days – most of all for our employees and their families in Ukraine; for our colleagues with relatives and friends in the region; for our colleagues in Russia; and for the rest of us who are watching from afar,” the company added.
The Ukrainian government had previously called on the financial companies to suspend operations in Russia, as Mr Putin’s forces hammer residential areas in Ukraine. The West has shown unprecedented unity in responding harshly to Mr Putin’s unprovoked incursion, cutting Russia off from the global financial system. Entertainment and tech companies have pulled out of Russia, and the country’s state broadcaster RT has been suspended by US carriers.