Visa and Mastercard are cutting ties with Russia as Western sanctions continue to ravage the Russian economy in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Independent reported that Visa and Mastercard are suspending operations in Russia “over the coming days.” Visa said that once its ban is in place Visa bank and credit cards issued in Russia will not work abroad and cards issued to people outside of Russia will not work inside the country.
Al Kelly, the CEO of Visa, said, “We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed.”
Mastercard issued a statement expressing a similar view calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine “shocking and devastating.”
The company said, “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.”
“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,” Mastercard added.
Previously, the Ukrainian government called on international financial institutions to cut ties with Russia to apply maximum pressure to Russian leadership.
In late February, shortly after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, Western nations issued a series of thoroughgoing sanctions on the Russian economy.
Notably, leaders from the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States locked arms in a joint statement calling for Russian banks to be removed from the SWIFT telecommunications network.
They said, “We stand with the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people in their heroic efforts to resist Russia’s invasion. Russia’s war represents an assault on fundamental international rules and norms that have prevailed since the Second World War, which we are committed to defending. We will hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”
The European Commission took further steps against Russia and banned all Russian planes from European airspace.
In response to Western sanctions, corporations took steps to sever their relationships with Russia as they try to exhaust the Russian economy.
The British Petroleum Company (BP) announced that it would liquidate its holdings in Russian state-owned energy companies. BP owns a nearly 20% stake in Rosneft; the British company intends to end its partnership with Russian energy companies which it hopes will put strain on Russia’s ability to export fossil fuels and natural gas.