Mastercard, Visa Halt All Operations In Russia

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Ashley Carnahan Contributor
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Mastercard and Visa suspended operations in Russia Saturday, dealing yet another economic blow to the country’s financial system.

Mastercard released a statement saying cards issued by Russian banks “will no longer be supported by the Mastercard network.” Additionally, any Mastercard issued outside of the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs, according to the statement.

“We don’t take this decision lightly,” the company said, adding it has operated in Russia for more than 25 years.

Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly also put out a statement saying the company was “compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed.”

“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,” Kelly continued.

The decision comes hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged lawmakers to suspend Visa and Mastercard credit card access in Russia, the Associated Press reported. (RELATED: US Imposes New Round Of Sanctions On Additional Russian Oligarchs And Elites)

Zelenskyy also pleaded with lawmakers to sanction Russia’s oil and gas sector and implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine’s airspace. “All the people who will die starting from this day will also die because of you. Because of your weakness, because of your disunity,” Zelenskyy said, according to the BBC.

Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse released a statement following lawmakers’ meeting with Zelenskyy, saying the Ukrainian president’s message was “simple.” “Close the skies or give us planes.”