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Russia-Ukraine war: Moscow will stop selling electricity to Finland from Saturday

Russia will suspend the electricity supply on Saturday due to payment problems to Finland, at a time of growing tensions between the two countries due to the Nordic country’s rapprochement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We are forced to suspend the importation of electricity from May 14,” the operator RAO Nordic, a subsidiary of the Russian state group InterRAO, based in Helsinki, said in a statement.

RAO Nordic said it has been “importing electricity from Russia to Finland and selling it to the Nord Pool for many years,” noting that sales made since May 6 have not yet been credited with funds in the company’s bank account. .

“This situation is exceptional and it happened for the first time in more than twenty years of our business history,” the company said, noting that due to lack of cash income it will not be able to make payments for electricity imported from Russia and is forced to cut off the supply.

“We hope that the situation will improve soon and power trade with Russia can resume,” he added.

Inter RAO is the only electricity import and export operator in Russia, and its main customer has historically been Finland. In 2021 alone, Russia supplied the neighboring country with 8.2 billion kWh out of a total of 21.77 billion kWh exported.

For its part, the operator of the Finnish electricity network assured to be able to do without electricity imports from Russia.

“We were prepared for this and it will not be difficult. It can be managed with a little more imports from Sweden and Norway,” Timo Kaukonen, head of operations at the operator Fingrid, told AFP.

The announcement of the cut of Russian electricity imports comes a day after the Finnish president and prime minister expressed themselves in favor of joining NATO “without delay”, and indicated that the decision of the Scandinavian country would be communicated to the organization next Sunday.

“Being a member of NATO would strengthen Finland’s security. As a NATO member, Finland would also strengthen the Alliance as a whole,” President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement.

Although the Finnish Parliament has yet to give its opinion, the announcement means that it is almost certain that Finland will submit its application, and it will be accepted. Sweden is also studying the possibility of applying to join the military alliance.

The immediate response came from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which warned that Russia “will be forced to take retaliatory measures of a military-technical nature and otherwise to counter emerging threats to its national security”.

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