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Kremlin says Armenian banks refusing Russian cards on US pressure

‘Economic institutions, companies, banks and other institutions are taking measures to hedge risks,’ according to spokesman

Burc Eruygur


The Kremlin on Monday said the refusal of Armenian banks to accept Russia’s card payment system Mir is a decision based on pressure from the US.

“So many countries are facing unprecedented pressure from the US – the threat of secondary sanctions, the threat of sanctions,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a press briefing in Moscow.

Peskov said economic institutions, companies, banks and other institutions are consequently taking measures to hedge risks.

He said Russia and Armenia continue to work in “correcting the situation” and will continue to “discuss and compensate for the harm” that this pressure is causing.

A representative of VTB Armenia told Russian media group RBC on Saturday that Mir cards would stop working in ATMs and POS terminals belonging to most Armenian banks as of March 30, except for VTB Armenia itself.

‘Havana syndrome’

Peskov responded to a question on claims that Russia was behind the “Havana syndrome,” a medical condition that has afflicted US diplomats and personnel.

“For many years, the topic of the so-called Havana syndrome has been discussed in the press, from the very beginning it was somehow linked to Russia, but no one has ever published or expressed any convincing evidence of these unfounded accusations,” he added.

Peskov termed the accusations “baseless and unfounded.”

The “Havana syndrome” dates back to 2016, when it was first noticed in Cuba. Since then, over 130 US and Canadian diplomats, spies and troops stationed there have reported vertigo, headaches, and insomnia.

Then-President Donald Trump blamed the Cuban government, while some officials at the Pentagon have blamed Russia, but the US State Department has made no determination of responsibility.


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