Visa and MasterCard halted services in Crimea after a new round of U.S. sanctions, according to multiple reports.

Visa has stopped issuing and servicing payment cards in Crimea, while MasterCard has stopped servicing cards issued by banks in Crimea, according to the wire service Sputnik.

Visa attributed the move to sanctions issued by the U.S. government on Dec. 19 that include prohibitions on investment and doing business in Crimea. Visa and MasterCard did not provide comment to PaymentsSource by deadline.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine earlier in 2014, and has applied pressure on Ukraine that includes a military buildup near the two countries' borders that's designed to dissuade Ukraine from allying with NATO countries.

The U.S. and other western countries have issued a series of sanctions as a punitive measure against Russia. Russia's responses have included moves to form its own payments network and passing laws that make it harder for foreign companies to do business in Russia.

Visa and MasterCard temporarily halted processing in Russia earlier in 2014 after earlier Western sanctions.  

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