US President Joe Biden, President of Ukraine
The White House said in a statement that it had accepted the decision of Visa and MasterCard to suspend operations in Russia.
“President Biden has said his administration will increase security, humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine and will work closely with Congress to secure additional funding,” White House said in a statement.
The White House says US President Joe Biden had a 30 – minute telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selensky.
Selensky also tweeted that he had discussed with Biden security, financial aid to Ukraine and the continuation of sanctions against Russia.
Meanwhile, the United States has condemned the new Russian media law, saying it condemns a new Russian law that threatens up to 15 years in prison for spreading what the Kremlin calls “fake news.” The United States also called for continued action across all sectors to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In a statement, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said: “We condemn the actions of the Council of the Russian Federation in passing a law punishing journalists with up to 15 years in prison.
He added that the new Russian law makes it illegal to report any incident that could bring the country’s military into disrepute.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president says he has spoken with Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, and announced that its Starlink satellite Internet terminal will be available in the country next week.
“I spoke to Elon Musk. I thank him for his support of Ukraine in word and deed, ”Selensky tweeted.
Musk said on Thursday that Starlink was the only non-Russian communications system still in operation in some parts of Ukraine since the Russian invasion.
The companies also announced that MasterCard and Visa had suspended their operations in Russia as the latest blow to the country’s financial system following the invasion of Ukraine.
Mastercard said cards issued by Russian banks would no longer be supported by its network and any cards issued outside the country would not work at Russian stores or ATMs.
“We do not take this decision lightly,” MasterCard said in a statement, adding that the decision was taken after discussions with customers, partners and governments.
Visa said it would work with customers and partners in Russia to suspend all visa transactions in the coming days.
Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly said in a statement, “We were forced to act in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the unacceptable events we have witnessed.”
Canada, meanwhile, has told its citizens to leave Russia “while the commercial media is in place”, noting that security conditions are unpredictable and could deteriorate without notice.
“Flight facilities are being severely restricted and the capacity of our embassy to provide consular services in Russia may be severely limited,” the Canadian Foreign Ministry said in a travel consultation. Canada, like many other Western nations, imposed extensive sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian negotiator says Russia understands the ‘real cost of the war’
Negotiations with Russia are beginning to become “creative,” a Ukrainian negotiator said, describing what he perceived as a clear shift in Moscow’s resistance to Ukraine and international sanctions.
“At the beginning of the war, they insisted on total domination. They did not expect Ukraine to put up such a fierce resistance,” he said.
“They are now beginning to understand the true value of war. We are now embarking on fruitful talks, “said the official, who attended the first two rounds of talks between Russia and Ukraine on the Belarusian border.
According to the Ukrainian delegation, a third round of talks is scheduled for Monday.