Visa and MasterCard said they can no longer support their payment cards being used in Crimea.
The move by the world’s biggest payment card companies follows the latest round of US sanctions imposed earlier this month over Russia’s annexation of the peninsula in March.
The United States has prohibited US-registered companies from investing in Crimea or providing services to firms operating there.
Many cardholders have experienced declined
transactions in shops and at cash machines.
Mired in a power crisis, Ukraine has also had to ration electricity to all regions, including Crimea, whose annexation it does not recognise.
On Friday, Kyiv pulled the plug on the peninsula’s power supply for the second time in just one week because it failed to curb consumption as required.
“There remains an energy deficit in Ukraine and they (Crimea) exceeded their limit and therefore electricity supplies were switched off to them,” and energy ministry spokesman said.
The electricity supply was restored later in the day.
“Sure thing it’s a nuisance [blackouts]. But I just hope it’s a temporary thing,” said a woman in a shop. “Anyway here’s better than in the east, in Ukraine. So it’s not the end of the world. We’ve lived in the ’90s without power, so what? We’ve overcome that. And now everything will also be okay.”
Meanwhile trains between Ukraine and Crimea are being suspended because of unspecified “security concerns”.
Ukraine’s state rail company said cargo services have already stopped. Passenger services will gradually cease between now and Monday.
“In order to ensure the safety of passengers … [the railway] will cut the route of trains to Crimea off at Novooleksiyvka and Kherson,” it said in a statement, referring to two towns on the Ukrainian mainland near Crimea.
Crimea is controlled by Moscow but its only land link is with Ukraine.
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