After NATO announcement: Russia cuts Finland’s electricity

A Russian company that imports electricity to Finland has announced a short-term supply stoppage. As the Helsinki-based company Rao Nordic announced on Friday, no more electricity will be able to flow from Russia to the Scandinavian country from Saturday.

Official reason: Pending payments

The bottom is a missed payment. It was therefore forced to stop importing electricity from May 14, he said. According to Rao Nordic, it is one of the main importers of Russian electricity to the Nordic countries and belongs to Inter Rao, the largest Russian energy group in the import-export sector.

Coincidence? Finland votes to join NATO

The delivery halt comes a day after Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin came out in favor of their country’s “immediate” NATO membership and shortly before a decision by Finnish Social Democrats On the question. Prime Minister Marin’s party plans to vote on a proposed contribution to the military alliance on Saturday. If the party agreed with this opinion, a large majority in the Finnish parliament would emerge in favor of membership.

Moscow had already announced that it would “respond appropriately” to Finland’s possible NATO membership. So there was already speculation about a shutdown of the energy supply. It was not immediately clear if there was a connection.

Russia loses its largest electricity customer

For Inter Rao, Finland is the most important export market. In 2021, 8.2 billion kilowatt hours of electrical energy were sold there – out of a total of 21.77 billion kilowatt hours sold abroad. According to Russian media, the Finnish electricity grid operator Fingrid announced in April that it would reduce its activities with Russia and reduce its imports due to the international situation.

The United States for Finland’s NATO membership

Meanwhile, the US government has come out in favor of Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The United States would support Finland or Sweden joining NATO if they decided to do so, the State Department’s top diplomat for Europe, Karen Donfried, said Friday.

A formal application for membership by the two countries would be “further proof of the strategic miscalculations” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Finland and Sweden are “esteemed NATO partners” and “thriving democracies”, Donfried said.

Joe Biden open to Sweden and Finland joining NATO

US President Joe Biden spoke Friday morning (local time) with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö. During the conversation, Biden reiterated his support for NATO’s open door policy, the White House said.

Finland and Sweden are already close NATO partners, but are traditionally non-aligned. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked an intense debate within NATO in both countries.

Turkey expresses its doubts

Critics, on the other hand, come from Turkey. President Erdogan said he had “no positive view” on Finland and Sweden joining the military alliance. He justified this by saying that the Scandinavian countries are “like a guesthouse for terrorist organizations”. Turkey has long accused the Nordic countries, especially Sweden, where many Turkish immigrants live, of harboring extremist Kurdish groups as well as supporters of American preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Turkey could thus block the accession of the two countries, because the admission of a new partner of the alliance must be decided unanimously by all the member states of NATO.

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