“It was a very difficult decision for us, but unfortunately, we are currently unable to provide services to clients in Crimea,” PayPal said in a statement Friday.
According to Crimean PayPal users, they first began receiving notices of service termination on Thursday. One user who received such a notice told RIA Novosti that he had been using PayPal to make payments on eBay. As he had no credit on his account, PayPal’s decision would not cause any problems, and he would now start shopping on Chinese websites instead.
Another user stated that he is yet to receive a service termination notice, though a small sum of rubles had been automatically returned from his PayPal account to his Russian bank account.
Earlier in the week, US company Apple Inc. informed authorized dealers that it would halt sales of Apple products in Crimea by February 1, a date outlined in an executive order issued by US President Barack Obama in December. Visa and MasterCard have also suspended their services in Crimea.
The US president’s December order bans the US export of goods, services and technology to Crimea and follows several rounds of western sanctions against Russia. The Crimean peninsula rejoined Russia in March, 2014 after more than 96 percent of local voters supported the move in a referendum, which to date has not been recognized by Ukraine and the West.