VTB Armenia, a subsidiary of VTB Bank in Russia, said cardholders of its Russian-issued “Mir” payment cards “may have restrictions” starting March 30 when using the card to pay for services or withdrawing funds through terminals and ATMs from other banks.

However, the bank said in a press release that it “continues to service Mir cards in its infrastructure in full,” though cardholders are limited to services provided by VTB Armenia only – namely the 53 branches in Armenia, 22 of which are located in the capital Yerevan.

“The Bank continues to service Mir cards in its infrastructure in full. Holders of Mir cards from VTB Group banks and any other Russian banks still have access to key services: cash withdrawals from VTB ATMs (Armenia), payment for services in the Mobile banking application, through remote service channels Video Bank and Telephone Bank,” read the press release.

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“Mir” (meaning “peace” or “world” in Russian) is a card payment system developed by Moscow, under the Central Bank of Russia, as an alternative to Visa and MasterCard following the 2014 sanctions after the annexation of Crimea.

This could be significant for Russians living abroad as Armenia had been one the few remaining countries to continue support for the Mir payment system following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which has led to the full suspension of Visa and MasterCard operations in Russia.

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The restriction on Mir card usage in Armenia is likely a result of US sanctions placed against Russia’s National Payment Card System (NPCS), the operator of the Mir payment system, in February.

Since Moscow’s full-scale invasion began in 2022, the “Mir” payment system has taken over the majority of Russia’s domestic transactions.

Kazakhstan's Bereke Bank, a former subsidiary of Russia’s Sberbank, also reported the cessation of “Mir” payment support following the US sanctions on NPCS.

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Comments ( 1)

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John
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The noose tightens around russia.

This lasted restriction may seem like just another irritating piece of gravel in their shoes, but factoring in similar restrictions and sanctions across the globe it's another painful step in the wrong direction. They may soon not be able to even find and put on their shoes under the cumulative mountain of irritating 'gravel' they are being buried under.

I'm glad the sanctions are not being extended to russia's sanction busting allies. This should slow their supply chain and thus options further.

Putins' greed is certainly not making the average Russian's life any better.

Even if their ruble still holds any useful value throughout this 3rd sanction year, their physical vacation destination options are getting smaller and smaller.

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