Russia to cut gas to Finland

Russia is cutting off its natural gas supply to Finland from Saturday as Helsinki moves forward in its effort to join NATO in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finnish energy company Gasum said on Friday that it had been notified by Russian energy giant Gazprom that it would cut off its gas supply the following day.

The announcement comes as Russia demands that Finland pay for natural gas in rubles, which Finland has refused to do.

It also adds a new layer to a growing energy struggle between Russia and much of Europe fueled by the war in Ukraine.

The European Union earlier this month proposed a ban on oil imports from Russia. This week, the EU revealed additional details about its plan to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas.

Russia has already cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria.

President Biden praised the efforts of Finland and Sweden to join NATO after decades outside the bloc. Both countries moved to join the military alliance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February. The leaders of Sweden and Finland met with Biden at the White House on Thursday.

Gasum said in a statement that from Saturday it will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline, which runs between Finland and Estonia.

Gasum chief executive Mika Wiljanen called the closure “regrettable” in a statement, but said the company should still be able to supply gas to consumers.

“We have been carefully preparing for this situation and, provided there are no interruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply gas to all our customers in the coming months,” Wiljanen said.

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