May 14, 2022

Russian energy supplier cuts off electricity to Finland amid NATO bid

A Russian energy supplier officially cut off electricity to Finland on Saturday ahead of the Nordic country’s expected announcement that it plans to join NATO.

“It is at zero at the moment, and that started from midnight as planned,” the manager for operational planning for Finnish transmission system operator Fingrid, Timo Kaukonen, told AFP on Saturday.

Fingrid had disclosed on Friday that Russia would be cutting off its supply to the country beginning early Saturday, but the Finnish transmission system operator said that its electricity only made up 10 percent of the country’s consumption.

“The lack of electricity import from Russia will be compensated by importing more electricity from Sweden and by generating more electricity in Finland,” Reima Päivinen, senior vice president of power system operations at Fingrid, said in a statement. 

RAO Nordic Oy, the Russian energy supplier, said in its own statement on Friday that it had been forced to suspend imports because Finland had allegedly not paid for its electricity.

“Unfortunately, we are forced to note that for the volumes which have been sold on Nord Pool exchange since the 6th of May funds have not yet been credited to our bank account. This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over twenty years of our trading history,” RAO Nordic said.

“Unfortunately, in the current situation of lack of cash income, RAO Nordic is not able to make payments for the imported electricity from Russia. Therefore we are forced to suspend the electricity import starting from 14th of May. We hope that the situation will get improved soon and the electricity trade with Russia could resume,” it added.

Fingrid said Saturday that officials were not concerned about the lack of Russian electricity exports, The Washington Post reported.

“Finland can cope without Russian electricity, now and even next winter, when the consumption will be higher,” Päivinen said, according to the newspaper.

On Sunday, Finland is expected to announce its bid to become a member of NATO, which its president and prime minister earlier this week called for “without delay.”

But a Kremlin spokesperson affirmed on Thursday that a possible Finland membership in the military alliance “definitely” threatened Russia, saying, “as we have said many times before, NATO expansion does not make the world more stable and secure.”

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, saying in a statement that the discussion was “straight-forward” and “conducted without aggravations,” with the Finnish leader explaining the country’s decision to seek NATO membership.

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