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Ukraine War: Long Lines for ATMs in Russia as West Restricts Cashless Payments

Visa and Mastercard have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their network.

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Edited By :Tejas Harad

In a situation reminiscent of India after demonitisation, people in Russia have been waiting in long queues outside ATMs for the past few days in an attempt to withdraw cash, Reuters reported.

The cash frenzy is partly a response to sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Russia for invading Ukraine, which have sparked worries that cash will soon be in short supply and payments will be disrupted.

The sanctions include barring Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank messaging network, making transactions slow and cumbersome to execute. As a result of the sanctions, the Russian rouble dropped significantly.

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Visa, Mastercard Blocked

Complying with the United States (US) government sanctions, the two biggest card payment companies in the world, Visa and Mastercard, have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their network, Reuters reported.

Both firms plan to donate $2 million each to humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

Visa and Mastercard have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their network.

People in Russia have been waiting in long queues outside ATMs.

(Photo Courtesy: valbeloru/Twitter)

The sanctions require Visa to suspend access to its network for entities listed as Specially Designated Nationals, a source told Reuters.

Last year, about four percent of Mastercard's net revenue was reportedly derived from business conducted within, into, and out of Russia. Ukraine accounted for two percent, according to a recent filing.

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Apple Pay, Google Pay Restricted

Growing pressure from Ukraine, the European Union, and the US has galvanised some of the biggest technology companies in the world, which include Apple and Google.

Among other services, Apple Pay and Google Pay have been restricted in Russia adding to the cashless payment woes of Russian citizens.

Apple has also halted all product sales in Russia. Other services such as Apple Maps have also been restricted. It told several publications that it was "deeply concerned" about the invasion and stands with those suffering due to the violence.

Google has barred Russian state-owned channels from earning ad revenue on their website, apps and YouTube videos, Reuters reported. The live traffic feature in Google Maps has also been disabled for Ukraine, since it could be used to track civilian activity.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's minister for digital transformation, said that he had written to Apple, Google, Netflix, YouTube, and Meta, asking them to suspend services in Russia or block propaganda accounts.

"In 2022 modern technologies are one of the best response to tanks, rockets and missiles. I’ve addressed to the biggest tech giants to support the sanctions for Russian Federation. We asked them to help us stop this outrageous aggression on our people!" he wrote on Twitter.

(With inputs from Reuters.)

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Topics:  VIsa   Google   apple pay 

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