The world's two largest credit and debit card companies, Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc, said on Friday they could no longer support bank cards being used in Crimea, following U.S. sanctions imposed earlier this month.
The United States last Friday prohibited U.S.-registered companies from investing in Crimea or providing services to firms operating there, among sanctions imposed over Russia's annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.
Visa said in a statement that the sanctions meant it could not offer Visa-branded products and services to Crimea.
"We can no longer support card issuing and merchant/ATM acquiring services in Crimea," it said.
Competitor MasterCard also said that it had to suspend operations with bank cards in Crimea due to the sanctions.
(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Writing by Alexander Winning and Polina Devitt; Editing by Pravin Char/Ruth Pitchford)