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Visa and Mastercard have blocked Russian banks from their networks after sanctions

Visa and Mastercard have blocked Russian banks from their networks

March 2, 2022: -Payment and credit card giants Visa and Mastercard have blocked financial institutions from their networks in response to sanctions targeting Russia after it invades Ukraine.

In the previous week, Russia launched an unprecedented invasion of Ukraine, forcing the U.S. and governments worldwide to impose a series of sanctions to cut off Moscow from the global financial system.

Last week, the U.S. placed several Russian individuals and financial institutions on the Specially Designated Nationals list’s sanctions list. On Monday, it effectively blocks U.S. companies and people from doing business with any individual or entity on that list. Washington has sanctioned Russia’s central bank.

On Monday, Mastercard said it had “blocked multiple financial institutions” from its payment network without the names of companies or individuals. “We have decided to continue to work with regulators in the days ahead to abide completely by our compliance obligations as they evolve,” the company added.

Rival Visa has blocked those on the sanctions list, saying on Tuesday that it was “taking prompt action to ensure compliance with applicable sanctions, and are prepared to comply with additional sanctions that may be implemented.”

Visa and Mastercard are pledging $2 million toward humanitarian relief funds for Ukraine.

It comes coming to the U.S., Canada and European allies agreed Saturday to remove key Russian banks from the interbank messaging system, SWIFT. It means Russian banks won’t communicate securely with banks beyond their borders.

The wide-ranging sanctions have caused a plunge in the value of the Russian ruble. Citizens in Russia have also been waiting long to withdraw cash from ATMs.

However, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov called on major cryptocurrency exchanges to block the addresses of Russian users.

Bitcoin and different digital currencies could become a way for Russians to potentially circumvent sanctions and get their money out of the country, as cryptocurrencies are not owned or controlled by a single entity like a central bank.

Binance, the largest exchange worldwide, has said it will block the accounts of Russian individuals who have been sanctioned but stressed that it would not “unilaterally” freeze the accounts of all Russian users.

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