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PayPal, Mastercard, Visa Halt Service in Russia Over War in Ukraine

The economic pressure on Russia increases as its invasion of Ukraine continues.

People in line for an ATM at a Moscow shopping mall on March 3.
People in line for an ATM at a Moscow shopping mall on March 3.
Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images

This story is part of War in Ukraine, CNET's coverage of events there and of the wider effects on the world.

PayPal is suspending its services in Russia, as a host of companies and governments put pressure on the country as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. Mastercard and Visa are also reportedly halting operations there.

In a statement Saturday, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said the company "supports the Ukrainian people and stands with the international community in condemning Russia's violent military aggression in Ukraine."

"PayPal has been working closely with governments and partners to actively comply with all applicable laws and sanctions," Schulman said. A PayPal spokesperson added that the company will temporarily continue processing customer withdrawals to make sure account balances are dispersed in line with relevant laws.

PayPal had discontinued domestic services in Russia in mid-2020 but still allowed cross border transactions. Earlier this week, it suspended the creation of new accounts. The company is also suspending its international money transfer service Xoom in Russia.

A key part of the West's response to the invasion has involved efforts to place economic pressure on Russia by disconnecting it from the international financial system. Late last month, the US and its allies agreed to kick some Russian banks off the SWIFT secure messaging network, a system that financial institutions worldwide use to send and receive money transfer orders.

Earlier in March, Mastercard and Visa said they'd stopped processing transactions for Russian-sanctioned banks, and later Saturday the Associated Press reported that the companies said they're suspending operations in the country. Mastercard cards issued by Russian banks won't be supported, and cards issued outside the country won't work at Russian ATMs or stores. Visa transactions will stop in the coming days, the company told the AP.

A number of tech companies have also stopped selling products and services in Russia as a response to the invasion, which could make everything from iPhones to computer chips to video games harder to acquire in the country. Apple for instance has stopped online transactions there, including limiting Apple Pay, in addition to halting sales of its devices.

Read more: Apple, Microsoft and Other Tech Companies Stop Sales in Russia