Russia cuts electricity supply to Finland as it accelerates plans to join NATO
Russia has cut power supplies to Finland after the Nordic state said it would accelerate plans to join Nato in response to the war in Ukraine.
Fingrid, the operator of Finland’s national grid, confirmed this morning that no more electricity is coming into the nation from Russia.
Reima Paivinen, a senior vice president at Fingrid, told Sky News the company was “confident there will be no major problems”, with sufficient power expected to be provided by Sweden.
Electricity from Russia accounts for around 10 per cent of Finland’s total consumption.
Russia previously said it would cut off electricity to Finland starting on Saturday due to “late payments”, after it ordered countries to pay in roubles rather than Euros or dollars.
Russian state-owned power firm Inter Rao has not been paid for energy sold via the pan-European exchange Nord Pool since 6 May, a statement suggested.
The Russian company’s Finnish subsidiary Rao Nordic said: “This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over 20 years of our trading history.”
It comes after Finland earlier this week confirmed plans to join Nato “without delay” in response to the war in Ukraine, marking an end to decades of neutrality.
President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has shattered a long-standing sense of stability in northern Europe, leaving both Sweden and Finland feeling extraordinarily vulnerable.
Finland announced on Friday that it intends to start the formal application process to join the military pact as soon as possible, more than doubling Nato’s presence along Russia’s borders from 754 miles to 1,584 miles.
Finnish public support for joining Nato has hovered around the 20 to 25 per cent mark for years, but catapulted to a record high of 76 per cent following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the latest opinion poll.
The move will further inflame tensions between neighbouring countries Finland and Russia.
The Kremlin said that Finland’s push for Nato membership would “definitely” be seen as a threat by Russia, with the country’s Foreign Ministry warning that Moscow would be “forced to take reciprocal steps, military-technical and other, to address the resulting threats”.
President Putin has previously threatened to disconnect gas and oil supplies to European countries if they do not pay in roubles, as the Kremlin faces tightening international sanctions.
The Finnish government said last month it would not pay for Russian gas supplies in rubles. Finnish ministers are now planning for potential shutdowns in gas supplies and food shortages.
It comes as the UK became the first country to rush to support Finland earlier this week, with Boris Johnson promising that British troops would defend both Finland and Sweden in the event of a Russian invasion.
The Prime Minister signed a mutual defence pact with the two countries on a visit to the region earlier this week. He said that Britain would “very seriously” consider deploying nuclear weapons to protect the sovereignty of Sweden and Finland.
Mr Johnson said the security agreements would “fortify Europe’s defences for generations to come” and denied that they were a “stopgap” until Finland and Sweden were covered by Nato’s Article 5, which states that an attack on one member state is an attack on all.
He accused President Putin of behaving like a “21st-century tyrant” with “neo-imperialist, revanchist ambitions” and he warned that Russia would continue to try to conquer its former territories if its ambitions in Ukraine were not stamped out.