Tilting at Windmills, Ukraine Bans Russian Payment Services Not Operating in Ukraine
Earlier this week National Bank of Ukraine has introduced a ban on the use of payment services provided by Webmoney, Yandex.Money, Qiwi Wallet, and Wallet One.
State authority explained that it was due to the fact that the rules of digital money use were not coordinated by the companies with the National Bank of Ukraine that their provision of their services was suspended.
Banned Russian companies express genuine surprise
In this situation, service users are the ones affected the most as it will become impossible to pay for goods and services and withdraw money from eWallets operated by banned payment services providers. Cointelegraph contacted Qiwi and Yandex.Money for comments.
Aleksander Dzhabarov, PR Manager at QIWI says to Cointelegraph:
“We are really surprised about the fact that QIWI got into the list of banned payment services for one simple reason - company does not operate in Ukraine as of 2012.”
“Yandex.Money operates around the world, at any place where there is Internet connection and according to the license issued by the Central Bank of Russia in compliance with the national regulations,” said the press secretary at Yandex.Money who shared the confusion with Cointelegraph.
“However, we do not have any subsidiaries in Ukraine,” continues Yandex.Money spokesperson. “Unfortunately, we cannot constantly control how our services comply with legislation of countries where our services become popular. Every country has its own legislation, and playing by the rules is the responsibility of the citizens of these countries. Yandex.Money did not introduce any restrictions for service users from Ukraine.”
Fighting with imaginary aggressor
According to the legislation of Ukraine, the issuing of digital money can be done only by the National Bank of Ukraine. Press office of the National Bank of Ukraine commented: “Taking into account the introduced measures, the National Bank of Ukraine has ordered banks and other financial institutions to stop provision of services of international payment systems created by the residents of the Russian Federation, to finalise reciprocal payments and return licenses for participation of institutions in international payment systems to the National Bank of Ukraine.”
The recent measures are only a part of the national campaign for restricting of banks and financial institutions established by Russian residents on the territory of Ukraine.
In late October a draft law on amendments to the regulation of banking activities was brought for a discussion at the Verkhovna Rada. The explanatory note attached to the draft law stated that Russia as the aggressor country, continues maintaining a significant impact on the Ukrainian economy and lives of citizens by keeping their companies and banks in the country.
Garegin Tosunyan, the Head of the Association of Russian Banks, commented introduced measures as irrational and populistic. He said: “Financial industry requires pragmatic and positive approach. No investor would ever put his money to a bank of a certain country to cause harm to the national economy. Instead harm is caused by the immediate withdrawal of the capital from the economic system. In this regard, Russia and Russian financial institutions are acting in a more adequate way, since they do not withdraw their funds from the economy of Ukraine.”
Puff and you're all gone!
Russian banks and payment systems keep becoming a subject to extended national restrictions. The National Bank of Ukraine has ordered financial institutions to suspend all operations with Russian payment services providers. Payment system Colibri operated by Sberbank, Zolotaya Korona, Unistream, Anelik, and Blizko were among those systems banned in the country.
Payment services provider WebMoney attracted attention of authorities already in 2013. At that time the national tax authorities visited offices of WebMoney and arrested company’s accounts that accumulated around 60 millions of Ukraine Grivna (around 6 million euro).