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Russia cuts electricity supply to Finland as country edges near NATO membership

Electricity supplies from Russia to Finland were cut on Saturday, two days after the country's politicians said they wanted to join the defence organisation NATO. DPA/AFP/File

Electricity supplies from Russia to Finland were cut on Saturday after power chiefs carried out their threat to stop the flow.

RAO Nordic, the company responsible for sales of Russian electricity to Finland, said on Friday it would end sales at midnight because of unpaid bills.

The move came as Finnish politicians announced their plan to join the international defence group NATO.

Bosses of Fingrid, the Finnish electricity network, say the country can cope without imports of electricity from Russia. Just under 10 percent off the electricity consumed in Finland comes from Russia.

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

A Fingrid spokesperson added: "Finland’s self-sufficiency in electricity generation is constantly improving. In particular, the amount of Finnish wind power generation is increasing every year and Finland is expected to become self-sufficient in electrical energy in 2023."

Tensions

Tensions has been rising between the Finnish and Russian governments since the Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered his country's forces into Ukraine on 24 February.

Sweden is also expected to put forward an application to join NATO. The ruling Social Democrats are due to make a decision on Sunday.

Russia has warned of military and political repercussions if the countries proceed.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the military alliance would welcome Finland and Sweden and said it would be possible to allow them to join quite quickly.

However, the manoeuvring has brought a strong response from Russia.

The the state-run RIA news agency quoted deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko warning that Russia will act if NATO deploys nuclear forces and infrastructure closer to its border.

Grushko said his country harboured no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden adding that he could not see any real reasons for the nations to join NATO.

Interfax quoted Grushko as saying: "It will be necessary to respond ... by taking adequate precautionary measures that would ensure the viability of deterrence."

As the Scandinavians weighed up the pros and cons of NATO membership, foreign ministers from the G7 nations emerged from three days of talks in Germany to reaffirm their backing for Ukraine.

"We will never recognise borders Russia has attempted to change by military aggression," said a joint statement.

"We will uphold our engagement in the support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea, and all states."

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Dive Deeper:
Russia could cut gas supply to Finland as it threatens ‘retaliatory steps’ over Nato decision
The warning came just hours after Russia said it would be forced to take ‘retaliatory measures’
Vladimir Putin warns Finland joining NATO is a 'mistake' and will be 'security threat'
The two countries said their presidents spoke by phone two days after Finland declared its intention to join NATO with…
Russia makes new threats to nuke Britain with Satan-2 hypersonic missile in just 200 seconds and Finland in 10 seconds
Russia has made new threats to use its deadly Satan-2 hypersonic nuclear missile to strike Britain in just “200 seconds”…
Russia makes new threats over use of Satan-2 hypersonic nuclear missile on Britain
Kremlin official also says it is ‘absolutely legitimate’ for Russia to question existence of Finland
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Finland ignores Russian threat and looks to join Nato
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spurred Finland to set aside long-standing concerns about provoking Russia and seek Nato membership.
Russia in chilling nuclear warning as Finland and Sweden move to join NATO
Russia's deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko said he doesn't see "real" reasons for Finland and Sweden moving to join NATO…
Get all your news in one place