Russia halts gas supply to Finland

Russia’s Gazprom on Saturday shut off gas exports to Finland, marking an escalation in tensions between the two countries following Helsinki’s bid to join the NATO defense alliance.

Nordic gas provider Gasum confirmed that Russia had halted supplies to neighboring Finland and that the company would “supply natural gas to its customers from other sources” over the coming months, including through the Balticconnector, a pipeline running between Finland and Estonia.

The move to cut off Finland from Russia’s gas resources is also seen as a response to Helsinki’s refusal to pay for Russian gas in rubles, as had been demanded by the Kremlin.

On Thursday, Helsinki provoked the ire of the Russian government by applying to join the NATO military alliance, with Russian President Vladimir Putin warning that the move would be a “mistake.”

Russia had already halted electricity deliveries to Finland last weekend, as relations between the two countries soured amid Finland’s indications that it would seek NATO membership in reaction to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland’s electricity grid operator, Fingrid, said it won’t be difficult to replace Russian power imports. “The lack of electricity import from Russia will be compensated by importing more electricity from Sweden and by generating more electricity in Finland,” Fingrid said.

Finland has also been moving to end imports of Russian coal and oil.