Russia Takes Action Against Finland

A Finnish transmission system operator announced on Friday that a Russian energy company would be cutting off its electricity imports to Finland beginning the next day.

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Beginning on Saturday at 1 a.m. local time, a subsidiary of Russia’s Inter RAO firm will cut off electricity imports to Finland, Fingrid announced in a press release.

“Due to problems in receiving payments for electricity sold on the market, further direct or bilateral sales of electricity imported from Russia will be halted until further notice,” the subsidiary, RAO Nordic Oy, wrote in a market message. “Trading is intended to continue when problems with payments have been resolved.”

Fox News reported:

“This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over twenty years of our trading history,” RAO Nordic said in a statement, per the report.

Electrical services, which account for 10% of the country’s total consumption, were discontinued “for the time being” at 1 a.m. local time, Finnish grid operator Fingrid said, according to the report.

“Missing imports can be replaced in the electricity market by importing more electricity from Sweden and also by domestic production,” the company added, Reuters reported.

According to the report, Fingrid is not involved in the dispute.

“Nord Pool is the one paying for them. Fingrid is not a party in this electricity trade. We provide the transfer connection from Russia to Finland,” Reima Paivinen, Fingrid’s senior-vice president for operations told the outlet.

The discrepancy in the paused payments could be connected to prior demands from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who demanded countries pay gas fees in rubles, Russia’s national currency.

The demand came as Russia faces tightening international economic sanctions.

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The Finnish government said last month it would not pay for Russian gas supplies in rubles.

Nord Pool did not confirm the rubles requirement, saying: “We have never had settlements in rubles, only in euros, Norwegian crowns, Swedish crowns and Danish crowns, in line with our standard procedures.”

Finland, who has traditionally remained neutral, has sought to join NATO, further escalating tensions with Russia.

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On Thursday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said their country was seeking to join NATO “without delay.”

“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance,” the leaders said.