Visa and Mastercard suspended operations in Russia on Saturday as businesses continue to withdraw from the country following its invasion of Ukraine.
Al Kelly, CEO of Visa, condemned the war as a “permanent threat to peace and stability” which demands that they “respond in accordance with our values” in a statement.
“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the unacceptable events we have witnessed,” he wrote. “We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues and the customers, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia.”
Visa will work with customers and partners in Russia to immediately cease all transactions over the next few days, and Visa cards issued outside of Russia will no longer work inside the country, according to the statement.
Mastercard wrote in a statement that they would also cease operations in Russia following the invasion.
Cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by Mastercard, and cards issued outside the country will no longer work at Russian merchants or ATMs, the statement said.
“We do not take this decision lightly,” the statement said. “Mastercard has been operating in Russia for more than 25 years. We have nearly 200 colleagues there who make this business so essential for many stakeholders. As we take these steps, we will continue to focus on their security and their well-being, including continuing to provide pay and benefits.”
The statement adds that the company will work to restore operations “when appropriate” and “if permitted by law.”
The move comes hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for Visa and Mastercard to end services in Russia during a call with U.S. lawmakers, according to an Associated Press report.
The decision was quickly welcomed by some US lawmakers.
“After @SenRonJohnson and I called on all major credit card companies to immediately shut down service in Russia, @Visa and @MasterCard did just that,” wrote Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida. “Other major card companies should follow suit and all should expand this action to include Belarus.”
Visa and Mastercard are among the largest financial institutions in the world and join the list of companies closing their operations in Russia, increasing financial pressure on Russia.
Also on Saturday, fashion companies Zara and Puma announced they would cease operations in Russia. Meanwhile, other companies that continue to operate face growing pressure to sever ties with Russia.
Other financial companies, including PayPal, have also terminated their services in Russia.