Finland says Russia has suspended natural gas supplies

Russia will cut off natural gas to Finland on Saturday after the Nordic country applied for NATO membership this week after rejecting President Vladimir Putin’s demand for a ruble payment, the Finnish state-owned energy agency said Friday, the latest increase in European power in the war. In Ukraine.

Following Russia’s rejection of the decree, Finland is the last country to lose its energy supply, which is used to generate electricity and the power industry. Poland and Bulgaria were cut off late last month but were ready for natural gas losses or were getting supplies from other countries.

Putin has announced that “unfriendly foreign buyers” have opened two accounts at the state-owned Gazprombank, one in euros and dollars, and the other in rubles. Eni ENI, the Italian energy company,
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Said this week that this is the “first method” for opening a euro and a ruble account.

The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, has said that the system does not violate EU sanctions if countries pay in the currency listed in their agreements and then formally signal the end of the payment process. But it says that opening a second account in rubles would violate the ban.

This is shaking the rest of the world to decide what to do next. Analysts say the EU’s position is vague enough to allow the Kremlin to continue its efforts to undermine unity among the 27 member states – but Russia will have to pay a heavy price for losing major European customers such as Italy and Germany.

As Europe seeks to reduce Russia’s dependence on oil and gas, Putin seeks to avoid pouring millions of dollars into the war-torn country every day, but creates adequate reserves before winter due to a lack of global supplies.

Finland has rejected new payments, with energy company Gassum saying its supply from Russia would be cut off on Saturday.

CEO Mika Wilzanen called the cutoff “extremely sad.”

But “given that there will be no disruption to the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply gas to all our customers next month,” Wilzenen said.

Natural gas accounted for only 6% of Finland’s total energy consumption in 2020, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE. Almost all of that gas came from Russia. It is lighter than the big importers like Italy and Germany, who get 40% and 35% of their gas from Russia.

According to Gasum of Finland, Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom said in April that future payments in its supply agreement must be made in rubles instead of euros.

The cutoff was announced the week Finland, along with Sweden, applied to join the NATO military, marking one of the biggest geopolitical implications of a war that could rewrite Europe’s security map.

The government in Helsinki said on Friday it had signed a 10-year lease for a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in the Gulf of Finland and would build the necessary port structures off the coast of the Nordic countries and Estonia, Economy Minister Mika Lintila said. In a statement.

It will “play a major role in securing gas supplies for the Finnish industry,” Lintilla said. The ship should be ready for operation by next winter.

Finland and Estonia are cooperating on the charter of the LNG terminal, which will provide adequate storage and supply capacity to allow Russian gas to be discharged to neighboring countries, Gasgrid Finland, the transmission network company said. A gas pipeline between the neighbors would make it possible to import gas from the Baltic states instead of Russia.

Meanwhile, the Italian company Anne said on Tuesday that it was going to follow Putin’s decree “in terms of impending payments in the coming days” but did not agree with the changes.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi has said he believes this is a breach of contract, and has called on the European Commission to issue a ruling on whether companies have complied with the sanctions.

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