Uzbekistan suspends Russian payment system Mir

Uzbekistan suspended the Russian alternative payment system Mir on Friday, amid pressure from the US on the few countries that use the service to abandon it, reports AFP, cited by The Moscow Times.

Russia developed Mir in 2015 to circumvent Western sanctions after annexing Crimea, but it has come under US surveillance since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine.

The Mir card service has been suspended in Uzbekistan since 9:00 am (04:00 GMT) due to “technical procedures”, said Uzcard, an interbank processing center in the former Soviet republic.

However, the Uzcard and Mir co-branded cards are “working as usual” in Uzbekistan, Uzcard said.

The suspension comes a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a regional summit in Uzbekistan, which Moscow considers part of its sphere of influence.

Turkey – a popular destination for Russians – is expected to decide on a potential ban on bank cards in the country on Friday.

A few days earlier, the United States threatened Turkish banks that continue to use Mir with financial sanctions.

Russia began developing its own domestic payments system in 2015 as a result of Western sanctions imposed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea the previous year.

This led to the creation of a card payment system called Mir, or World, accepted in only a handful of countries, including Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Russian authorities would like these cards to be accepted globally, which would ease the financial difficulties Russians now face when traveling.

Last Friday, the head of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, said that Russia was experiencing “difficulties” in expanding its payments system globally.

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More than 100 million Mir cards have been issued in the past seven years, meaning more than half of the Russian population has one, according to figures provided by the card’s issuing company.

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The article is in Romanian

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