In response to Finland’s imminent NATO entry and the country’s refusal to pay in rubles, Russia is now preparing to cut off gas supplies to the neighboring country.
Hours after Moscow warned of retaliation for Helsinki’s announcement that it would apply for NATO membership, Finnish media reports that the Kremlin has threatened to cut off the Nordic country from Russian gas by Friday. Citing unnamed sources, Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported the Russian warning to Finnish politicians. The newspaper reports:
The energy sector is normally prepared for possible fuel supply disruptions. This includes preparing for the disruption in gas supplies from Russia due to the conflict. “It seemed like a very possible scenario and we prepared for it on many different levels,” says gas market expert Heikki Lindfors. The national contingency plans are made by the Organization for Security of Supply, but the contingency plans are secret. Private companies also draw up their own plant and company-specific emergency plans. This can include, for example, the temporary use of alternative energies.
Before the warning, the newspaper had expressed the expectation that Finland would be cut off from Russian gas after May 23, when the next contract payment with Gazprom is due and the country refuses to pay in rubles. At the end of April, Russia cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria because they refused to pay in rubles, as Moscow had requested.
Between 60 and 70 percent of Finnish natural gas comes from Russia. However, the country’s main energy sources are petroleum, biomass and nuclear power, with Natural gas accounts for only 5 percent of total energy consumption of the country. According to the Finnish government, renewable energy will surpass fossil fuels and peat in total energy consumption by 2020, making the country less dependent on Russian energy sources.