American Express announced Sunday that it is suspending its operations in Russia and Belarus, joining the response of credit card giants Mastercard and Visa amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Globally issued American Express cards will no longer work at merchants or ATMs in Russia, the company said in a statement. Cards issued locally by Russian banks will no longer work outside of the country on the American Express global network, the company added.
The company also announced that it was “terminating” all business operations in Belarus.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been working hard to back our colleagues and customers in these countries,” American Express said in a statement. “While this decision will have an impact on them, we will continue to do what we can to support them.
The announcements by the credit card companies comes as Russians face heavy sanctions levied by several countries, including the U.S., in response to Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine. The sanctions have forced Russia’s central bank to impose capital controls and temporarily close equity and bond markets, according to Bloomberg News. Last week, the value of the Russian ruble sank to a record low against the dollar, the news organization reported.
Mastercard and Visa’s decisions came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the companies to suspend all business in Russia, Bloomberg reported. Zelenskyy made the appeal during a video call with U.S. lawmakers on Saturday.
American Express said its decision was based on its company values to “do what is right.”
“This principle has guided us throughout this difficult crisis and will continue to do so, as we stand by our colleagues, customers, and the international community in hoping for a peaceful resolution to this crisis,” the company said in its news release.
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