Image Source: Reuters
After Helsinki declined to pay in roubles, Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Saturday that it has halted all gas supply to Finland.
Gazprom “totally halted gas supply” after Gasum, the Finnish national energy provider, did not accept Moscow’s requirements by the 20 May deadline.
At the same time, many feel the Kremlin is using this as retaliation for Finland’s plan to ask for NATO membership, which Russian President Vladimir Putin regards as hostile.
The Kremlin has responded to Finland’s decision by stating that it will be “obliged to take reciprocal steps, military-technical and otherwise, to meet the resulting dangers.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th and the introduction of Western sanctions, Putin demanded in late March that importers of Russian gas from “unfriendly” countries pay in roubles from Russian bank accounts or face being cut off from supply.
The US, EU member states, the UK, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan, South Korea, Norway, and Australia are among the “unfriendly countries” on the list. Russian gas is mostly consumed by European Union countries.
“As of April 1, gas payments must be made in roubles using new bank details, which the partners were notified of in a timely manner,” Gazprom added.
In 2021, the Russian company claims to have supplied Finland with 1.49 billion cubic meters of natural gas, accounting for two-thirds of the country’s consumption.
However, according to 2020 statistics, natural gas amounts for about 6% of Finland’s total energy consumption, and the Nordic country has stated that consumers wont be unaffected by Gazprom’s decision because it has other sources of supply.
Gazprom halted all gas supply to Bulgaria and Poland in late April, citing non-payment in roubles by the two EU members.
On Sunday, Russia also cut off power to Finland. It had threatened retaliation if Finland applied to join Nato.
Separately, Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil corporation, stated on Friday that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had informed them that he would no longer serve on their board of directors.
Mr Schröder’s lucrative status has sparked public outrage. He has refused to condemn Putin, whom he considers a personal friend, for attacking Ukraine.