Russia has carried out its threats: its gas to Finland has been cut off
Steph Deschamps / May 21, 2022
Natural gas supplies to Finland from Russia were interrupted on Saturday, Finnish state-owned energy company Gasum said, after the Nordic country refused to pay supplier Gazprom in rubles. Natural gas deliveries to Finland under Gasum's supply contract have been interrupted, the company said in a statement, adding that gas would now be supplied from other sources via the Balticconnector pipeline, which connects Finland to Estonia.
The Finnish group said Friday that it had been informed by Russian giant Gazprom that deliveries would be interrupted on Saturday. In April, Gazprom had demanded that all future payments for its export gas deliveries be made in rubles rather than euros, but Gasum had rejected this demand and the group announced on Tuesday that it was requesting arbitration in court. Although gas accounts for only 8% of the energy consumed in Finland, most of the gas used by the Nordic country comes from Russia. Gasum has however assured that it would be able to obtain gas from other suppliers and that it would continue its activities normally.
Finland had already unveiled plans on Friday to do without Russian gas next winter, announcing in particular the ten-year lease, jointly with neighboring Estonia, of a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal. Several countries that refused to pay in rubles to avoid supporting the Russian economy during the war in Ukraine, such as Poland and Bulgaria, have already been cut off by Gazprom. The announcement comes a few days after the suspension of Russian electricity exports to Finland due to unpaid bills.
Finland, and its neighbor Sweden, decided to join Nato because of the Russian offensive against Ukraine, judging that Moscow was a threat, whereas for decades, particularly during the Cold War, the two countries had chosen non-alignment.
Finland in particular shares some 1,300 km of borders with Russia. Moscow has already warned Helsinki that a formal application to join NATO would be a serious mistake with far-reaching consequences. Russia had justified its attack in Ukraine by the rapprochement of its western neighbor with NATO, considering that this posed an existential threat to its security.