Mastercard has suspended operations in Russia, with Visa soon looking to do the same, according to multiple reports. The moves on the part of the financial services corporations are the latest to hit the country’s financial system, following its invasion of Ukraine.
“We don’t take this decision lightly,” Mastercard said in a statement, noting that the company had come to it following conversations with customers, partners and government bodies.
“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” added Visa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Al Kelly in a statement. “This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”
The U.S. State Department also today put out an advisory that all U.S. citizens either living or traveling in Russia should depart the country “immediately.”
“Do not travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law. U.S. citizens should depart Russia immediately,” said the notice posted to the State Department’s website. “U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately. Limited commercial flight options are still available. Overland routes by car and bus are also still open. If you wish to depart Russia, you should make arrangements on your own as soon as possible. If you plan to stay in Russia, understand the U.S. Embassy has severe limitations on its ability to assist U.S. citizens, and conditions, including transportation options, may change suddenly.”
Russia launched its assault on Ukraine under the guidance of President Vladimir Putin on February 24. In the days since, its currency, the ruble, has dropped to a historic low, at a value of less than 1 U.S. cent, with the U.S. joining the UK and the EU, along with Switzerland, Japan, Canada and other countries in imposing various financial sanctions.
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