Russia says it will suspend power supplies to Finland amid tensions over Nato bid

·2-min read
A woman passes a city sign in Helsinki on Friday, May 13  (AP)
A woman passes a city sign in Helsinki on Friday, May 13 (AP)

Russia will suspend power supplies to Finland this weekend, a supplier said on Friday amid tensions over Helsinki’s bid to join Nato.

The move was announced by NAO Nordic, a subsidiary of Russian state energy holding Inter RAO that sells its electricity on the Nordic market.

“We are forced to suspend the electricity import starting from May 14,” it said, citing a failure to receive payment for electricity sold in May.

“This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over 20 years of our trading history,” RAO Nordic added.

Finland’s electricity network operator said it would cope without the Russian power supply.

“We’re prepared for this and it won’t be difficult. We can make do with a bit more imports from Sweden and Norway,” Fingrid’s manager for operational planning Timo Kaukonen told AFP.

He said less than 10 per cent of electricity consumed in Finland comes from Russia.

It comes a day after Finland took a landmark decision to apply to join Nato.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement that their country should submit an application to join the military alliance.

Responding to the move, the Kremlin said Finland joining Nato would be a “threat” to Russia and would not further stability in Europe.

Sweden is widely expected to follow Finland’s lead and could apply for entry to the 30-nation alliance as early as Monday.

“Swedish Nato membership would raise the threshold for military conflicts and thus have a conflict-preventing effect in northern Europe,” Stockholm’s Foreign Mkinister Ann Linde said on Friday.

Later on Friday, US President Joe Biden, in a call with the leaders of Sweden and Finland, said he supported Nato’s open door policy and the two Nordic countries’ right to determine their “own future, foreign policy, and security arrangements.”

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