10:52 GMT +326 April 2018
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    China UnionPay System Launches in Crimea Despite Western Sanctions

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    Crimean residents cannot use MasterCard and Visa credit cards because of Western sanctions. China UnionPay does not support the restrictions and is currently operating in six cities in the region.

    BaykalBank is the first financial institution that started issuing UnionPay payment cards on the peninsula.

    The new payment system is designed to replace MasterCard and Visa. Both major international payment systems disappeared from the Crimean market after the US imposed economic sanctions against Russia.

    "BaykalBank has already started issuing payment cards on the peninsula […]. The UnionPay card is rapidly expanding and currently covering six cities in the region: Simferopol, Sevastopol, Yalta, Yevpatoria, Saki and Kerch," an official statement said.

    UnionPay has been successfully operating in Russia since 2013 and will be the first major international payment system to operate in Crimea since the start of the sanctions.

    According to head of the Crimean branch of BaykalBank Olesya Burdukovskaya, UnionPay card owners will be able to pay for goods, services and withdraw cash in over 150 countries. The card will be of use for those who frequently travel abroad, as the system is used by more than 300 banks worldwide.

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    sanctions, payment system, UnionPay, Crimea, Russia, China
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