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How to Still Send Money to Russia?

The United States and the rest of the western world put crippling sanctions against the Russian Federation. Such sanctions specifically target banking relations including the SWIFT system. Such measures aree supposed to disconnect the Russian banking world from the rest of the planet.

More than ever now, in the United States, many Russian Americans have in-laws in Russia in need of support. Such legitimate people to people support will not support Russian President Putin or his war machine. The United States should not punish its own citizen with Russian background for criminal actions by a Russian (foreign) president.

While most banks and money transfer organizations already cut Russia off their system, transfers of funds using the Western Union system are still working.

Currently, there are no limits on transactions, and the one transaction cash limit is US$50,000.00. This of course exceeds normal family support.

When contacted by eTurboNews, Western Union spokesperson Erin Caffrey says:

“We can confirm that while Western Union is suspending our operations in Russia and Belarus across all channels, our operations will not cease immediately. 

“For customers sending to Russia and Belarus, our current plan is for money transfers to be available through March 21, 2022. We anticipate that pending payments will be paid out through March 23, 2022, for receivers in Russia and Belarus. Receivers in Russia and Belarus can pick up their money in cash (local currency only) at Western Union Agent locations. 

“Money transfers sent from Russia and Belarus are expected to be available through 21:00 (Moscow Standard Time) on March 23, 2022. There is no deadline by which receivers outside of Russia and Belarus need to pick up funds.”

It’s understandable the United States Government wants to stop money flow that could support the ongoing illegal invasion of Ukraine. But should this include family-related transactions?

DM told eTurboNews: “I am a proud US citizen and grew up as a Ukrainian in the now occupied region, Donetsk. My mother is a Ukrainian citizen, my dad is Russian. They need some help from a family like me. I just sent $800.00 using Western Union. It worked fine. I am worried about not continuing the support for my parents. The US government should allow smaller family-to-family transactions. There could be a limit of perhaps $1000.00 in one month, but it should not be cut off. Russian – Ukrainian Americans like me are not supporting Putin or his war with this money. My mother worked all her life and cannot collect her pension due to Ukraine abandoning Ukrainians residing in the Donbas region for many years. “

In Bali Indonesia, Feisol operates a hotel, and Russian tourists are stranded. They are unable to pay hotel bills. As a result, Feisol had to let most of his hotel staff go. Room cleaning, maintenance of the pool is no longer available. These Russian visitors want to go home, but can’t. Flights are no longer operating, ATM machines don’t work, and there is no way for them to get a hand on any money.

About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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