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Visa suspends service with Russian banks in Crimea

Russia's Central Bank says its own authority to issue credit makes Visa's transaction cessation a moot point.

By Matt Bradwell
Visa suspends service with Russian banks in Crimea
Vladimir Putin. UPI/Lior Mizrahi/Pool | License Photo

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Visa cards and lines of credit will no longer be usable in Crimea as a result of strict economic sanctions placed on Russia by the United States earlier in December.

"According to the US sanctions imposed against Crimea on December 19, 2014, Visa currently cannot provide services and offer their products in the Crimea," Visa Inc. said in a statement.

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"This means that we can no longer issue or accept bank cards in Crimea, and service them in ATMs ... As for the time period, these limitations will last until the sanctions are lifted from Crimea. At the moment it is unclear when this will happen; it will depend on the development of the political and diplomatic situation. VISA continues to follow closely the events and will provide you with the information as soon as it appears."

The expanded U.S. sanctions prohibit doing business in Crimea until Russia surrenders the annexed territory back to the Ukraine.

Despite the latest round of hurdles for Russia's already struggling economy, the Central Bank of Russia insists its own lending power negates Visa's inability to do business in Crimea.

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"Russian credit institutions operating in the territory of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol work as usual, including the opening of bank accounts, transferring funds, and deposits and withdrawals of funds," says the Central Bank.

Mastercard has not yet announced if it will continue to enable transactions in Crimea.

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