Visa, Mastercard Grant Zelensky's Request, Ban All Operations in Russia

Visa and Mastercard suspended its operations in Russia on Saturday as companies continue withdrawing from the nation over its invasion of Ukraine.

Al Kelly, Visa's CEO, condemned the war as an "ongoing threat to peace and stability" that demands they "respond in line with our values" in a statement.

"We are compelled to act following Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed," he wrote. "We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia."

Visa will work with its clients and partners in Russia to immediately cease all transaction over the coming 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 over the invasion.

Cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by Mastercard, and cards issued outside of the country will no longer work at Russian merchants or ATMs, the statement said.

"We don't take this decision lightly," the statement said. "Mastercard has operated in Russia for more than 25 years. We have nearly 200 colleagues there who make this company so critical to many stakeholders. As we take these steps, we will continue to focus on their safety and well-being, including continuing to provide pay and benefits."

The statement added the company will work to restore operations "when it is appropriate" and "if it is permissible under the 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 a report from the Associated Press.

The decision was swiftly met with praise from some U.S. lawmakers.

"After @SenRonJohnson & I called for all major credit card companies to immediately shut off service in Russia, @Visa & @MasterCard have done just that," wrote Senator Rick Scott, a Florida Republican. "Other major card companies should follow suit & all should expand this action to include Belarus."

Visa and Mastercard are among the world's largest financial institutions and join the list of companies ending 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 continuing to operate face mounting pressure to cut ties with Russia.

Other financial companies including PayPal have also ended services in Russia.

Visa suspends Russian operations
Visa suspended their operations in Russia on Saturday as companies continue withdrawing from the nation over its invasion of Ukraine. Above, Visa credit cards are seen in San Francisco in February 2008. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images