Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) chairs a meeting with members of the Federation Council at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, March 27, 2014.(REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin)
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President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia would develop its own credit card system to reduce reliance on Western-based companies and soften the potential blow from U.S. and EU sanctions.Putin voiced his support for plans described by officials to create a domestic-based system in response to restrictions placed on Russian banks last week by Visa and MasterCard, which are widely use by Russians. Visa and MasterCard last week stopped providing services for payment transactions for clients at Bank Rossiya, under U.S. sanctions over what the West says is Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.After hitting Russian officials and lawmakers with visa bans and asset freezes over the annexation of Crimea, the United States and European Union are threatening measures affecting entire economic sectors if Russia escalates the crisis.
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