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Ukraine’s central bank has called upon the apex banks of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Vietnam to stop transaction cards linked to the Russian payment system MIR.

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) urged the central banks of these countries to stop servicing MIR cards in their ATM and POS networks.

It also called for the suspension of the cards in e-commerce as well as P2P transfers.

MIR, operated by Russian national payment company NSPK, was launched in 2015.

According to a press release on MIR’s website, it is currently available in Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Tajikistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia.

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NBU’s appeal comes as Ukraine seeks to increase global financial pressure on Russia after the escalation of its military attack on the country.

NBU governor Kyrylo Shevchenko said: “The NBU is seeking to mobilise all possible sanctions against the Russian financial sector. The financing of armed aggression against Ukraine must cease.

“This is precisely why we are counting strongly on our international partners to support our initiatives in this regard.”

In recent weeks, several global payment firms halted their operations in Russia to comply with sanctions announced on the country following its military offensive against Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Japanese card company JCB halted its Russian operations amid ‘unforeseen’ conditions in the country.

US-based payments company Discover, which was in the process of setting up a regional branch in Russia, put its plans on hold.

Other US payment giants Mastercard, Visa, and American Express also suspended their operations in Russia recently.