Russia to cut off Finland’s natural gas after Nordic country applied for NATO membership

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (File image)

Photo : AP

Moscow: Russia will cut off the natural gas supply to Finland as the Nordic country refused to accept Moscow’s demand for payment in the Rubles. The development came days after Finland applied for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Notably, Finland is the third European country after Poland and Bulgaria which rejected Russia’s demand for payment in Rubles. Russia cut off the natural gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria last month.

Finnish state gas company Gasum in a statement on Friday said that Russian gas would be available in the country from 7 am local time on Saturday. “It is highly regrettable that natural gas supplies under our supply contract will now be halted,” reported CNN Business quoting Gasum CEO Mika Wiljanen as saying.
Finland is also receiving gas through its Baltic connection via Estonia. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin had declared that “unfriendly foreign buyers” need to pay in Rubles. Moscow’s demand of payment’s in Rubles is considered to be a retaliatory move against sanctions by the European Union and other western countries after its invasion of Ukraine.. Russia’s state-owned company, Gazprom, had told its customers to open two accounts with Gazprombank- one for payments in Euro, while another in Rubles.

According to the International Energy Agency, in 2020, Finland relied on Russia for 68 percent of its natural gas consumption. Notably, natural gas accounted for just six percent of Finland’s total energy consumption, reported Associated Press quoting Finnish broadcaster YLE

Finland and Sweden submitted their application to join the US-led alliance on Wednesday. Notably, Finland shared an almost 1,300 km border with Russia. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is increasing fear among many Finns and Swedes.