One of Russia's leading banks, VTB, says it has started to allow its automated teller machines (ATMs) in Kazakhstan to accept Russia's MIR payment cards.
In a December 7 statement, VTB said holders of the MIR cards can now withdraw cash from the bank's 85 ATMs and 40 cash-issuing points across Kazakhstan.
MIR payment cards issued since December 2015 are operated by the National Card Payment System, a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Russia.
The system was developed in 2014 to overcome potential blocks on electronic payments caused by international sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its seizure and illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Several Russian banks have been denied services by the U.S.-based Visa and MasterCard companies as a result of those sanctions.
MIR, which means "world" or "peace" in Russian, is mainly promoted by the Russian government.
All banks in Russia have been obliged under Russian law to allow the use of MIR cards for receiving welfare and pension payments since May 1, 2017.
VTB also allows the use of MIR payment cards for withdrawals from its machines in Armenia and Belarus.