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Visa, Mastercard block Russian financial institutions, YouTube bars RT, Sputnik linked channels

file photo: file photo: credit card is seen in front of displayed visa logo in this illustration
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo

US payment card firms Visa Inc V.N and Mastercard Inc MA.N have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their network, complying with government sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine while YouTube has blocked channels connected to Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe effective immediately.

Visa said on Monday it was taking prompt action to ensure compliance with applicable sanctions, adding that it will donate $2 million for humanitarian aid. Mastercard also promised to contribute $2 million.

“We will continue to work with regulators in the days ahead to abide fully by our compliance obligations as they evolve,” Mastercard said in a separate statement late on Monday.

The government sanctions require Visa to suspend access to its network for entities listed as Specially Designated Nationals, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. The United States has added various Russian financial firms to the list, including the country’s central bank and second-largest lender VTB VTBR.MM.

On Saturday, the U.S., Britain, Europe and Canada announced new sanctions on Russia – including blocking certain lenders’ access to the SWIFT international payment system. Read full story

YouTube is blocking channels connected to Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe effective immediately, due to the situation in Ukraine, the company operated by Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL.O Google, said on Tuesday.

It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.

The company’s actions follows that of Facebook parent Meta Platforms IncFB.O, which on Monday said it will restrict access to television network RT and news agency Sputnik on its platforms across the European Union. 

Twitter Inc TWTR.Nhas also said that it would label tweets containing contents from the Russian state-controlled media and reduce their visibility.


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