Visa, Mastercard Suspend Operations in Russia Amid Ukraine Invasion

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  • Both Visa and Mastercard announced Saturday they would suspend their operations in Russia.
  • Mastercard has operated in Russia for more than 25 years.
  • Both companies previously blocked certain Russian banks to comply with Western sanctions.

Visa and Mastercard announced Saturday they would suspend operations in Russia, another blow to the country’s economy in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Visa said the suspension would be “effective immediately,” and all transactions would cease within a matter of days.

Mastercard said cards issued by Russian banks will “no longer be supported by the Mastercard network” and that any Mastercard issued outside Russia will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs.

“We don’t take this decision lightly. Mastercard has operated in Russia for more than 25 years,” the company said in a statement on Saturday. “As we take this step, we join with so many others in hoping for and committing to a more positive, productive, and peaceful future for us all. ”

Visa CEO and chairman Al Kelly said in a statement that the company felt “compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed.”

Kelly continued: “We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants, and cardholders we serve in Russia. This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”

Earlier this week, both Visa and Mastercard announced they had blocked certain Russian banks in an effort to comply with Western sanctions against the country.

The US and its Western allies, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union, have together imposed hundreds of sanctions and other consequences on Russia since late February, sending its economy into a tailspin. 

As a result, the ruble has plummeted, Russia’s stock exchange has shuttered, hundreds of billions of dollars in assets have been frozen, and both everyday and high-profile Russians have been affected.

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