A few days ago, Finland applied for NATO membership. A short time later there is a dispute about paying for gas deliveries in rubles. Russia's reaction is not long in coming - it completely cuts off natural gas supplies to Finland.
According to the Finnish energy company Gasum, Russia stopped supplying gas to Finland early on Saturday morning. The Finnish utility Gasum announced in Espoo that Gazprom Export had informed about this. The Finnish group had previously announced that it would not accept Gazprom Export's demands for payments to be made in rubles. The two companies also disagree on other demands.
"It is deeply regrettable that the gas deliveries from our contract are now being stopped," said Gasum boss Mika Wiljanen, according to the announcement. "However, we have carefully prepared for this situation and if there are no disruptions in the gas network, we will be able to supply gas to all our customers in the coming months." Gas from other sources will be made available to customers over the summer, it said.
According to Gasum, it is currently the only energy company in Finland that purchases gas directly from Russia. Against the background of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden submitted an application for NATO membership in Brussels on Wednesday. Russia had already announced a reaction to this. Last Friday, a Russian company that imports electricity to Finland announced a delivery freeze at short notice. However, it is not clear whether there is a connection with the energy freeze.
The NATO Council will now deal with the applications for membership from Finland and Sweden. It is made up of representatives of the 30 alliance states, who have to make a consensus decision on how to proceed. However, the historical developments are overshadowed by the veto threats from NATO member Turkey. The latter had recently made it clear several times that it would only agree to the accession of Finland and Sweden in exchange for concessions.
It is unclear how Turkey can be prevented from vetoing Sweden and Finland from joining NATO. According to diplomats, in addition to statements by the two northerners on the fight against terrorism, arms deals could also play a role.