Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. have suspended operations in Russia amid growing pressure from within Ukraine and from US lawmakers to do so.
Mastercard said cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by its network and any card issued outside the country will not work at Russian stores or ATMs in the latest blow to the country's financial system after its attack on Ukraine. Mastercard said it made its decision after discussions with customers, partners and governments.
Visa said it's working with clients and partners in Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days.
The suspensions are a follow-up to more limited moves earlier in the week to block financial institutions from the networks that serve as arteries for the payments system. Russian people have already been hit hard by heavy sanctions and financial penalties imposed by the US government and others.
The decisions came hours after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked US lawmakers to urge both companies to cease business in Russia as that country pursues its assault on Ukraine. President Joe Biden spoke with Zelenskiy on Saturday.
The Ukrainian president said Elon Musk is sending more terminals for satellite internet access. The European Union is providing the first tranche of 500 million euros ($546 million) in assistance to refugees fleeing Ukraine, a step that Zelenskiy tweeted Saturday would help "ensure decent living conditions."
The government in Kyiv offered to hold further talks with Russia on Monday, even as President Vladimir Putin repeated his demands for "demilitarization" of Ukraine. A Russian official said a meeting might take place on Monday, Interfax reported.