Visa and Mastercard suspend operations in Russia.

Card pay­ment com­pa­nies Visa and Mas­ter­card have announced they will sus­pend oper­a­tions in Rus­sia, join­ing a grow­ing list of inter­na­tion­al com­pa­nies refus­ing to do busi­ness with Moscow fol­low­ing its inva­sion of Ukraine.

The moves, fol­low­ing a request from Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­skyy ear­li­er Sat­ur­day, deal a fur­ther blow to Rus­si­a’s finan­cial sec­tor and are expect­ed to fur­ther iso­late its sanc­tions-hit economy.

Mas­ter­card announced that cards issued by Russ­ian banks would no longer be sup­port­ed by its net­work and that any cards issued out­side the coun­try would not work in Russ­ian stores or ATMs.

“We are not tak­ing this deci­sion light­ly,” Mas­ter­card said in a state­ment, adding that it made the deci­sion after dis­cus­sions with cus­tomers, part­ners and governments.

Visa also said cards issued in Rus­sia would no longer work out­side the coun­try, adding that it was work­ing with cus­tomers and part­ners in Rus­sia to end all Visa trans­ac­tions in the next few days.

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

U.S. Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, in a call with Zelen­skyy, praised the com­pa­nies’ decisions.

“Pres­i­dent Biden not­ed his admin­is­tra­tion’s request for secu­ri­ty, human­i­tar­i­an and eco­nom­ic assis­tance to Ukraine and is work­ing close­ly with Con­gress to secure addi­tion­al fund­ing,” a White House read­out of the call said.

The two cred­it card giants had pre­vi­ous­ly announced that they were com­ply­ing with U.S. and inter­na­tion­al sanc­tions imposed on Rus­sia fol­low­ing the Feb. 24 invasion.

Major Russ­ian banks, includ­ing its largest lender Sber­bank and the Cen­tral Bank of Rus­sia, down­played the effects the card sus­pen­sions would have on their customers.

“All Visa and Mas­ter­card bank cards issued by Russ­ian banks will con­tin­ue to func­tion nor­mal­ly on Russ­ian ter­ri­to­ry until their expi­ra­tion date,” the Russ­ian Cen­tral Bank said, warn­ing Rus­sians trav­el­ing abroad should have oth­er means of pay­ment avail­able, however.

Econ­o­mist Mohamed Haidar said that the deci­sion of Visa and Mas­ter­card would have a “real dev­as­tat­ing effect and could par­a­lyze many businesses”.

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