Russia cuts off gasoline exports to Finland in symbolic transfer | Nationwide Politics

HELSINKI (AP) — Russia halted gasoline exports to neighboring Finland on Saturday, a extremely symbolic transfer that got here simply days after the Nordic nation introduced it wished to hitch NATO and marked a probable finish to Finland’s practically 50 years of importing pure gasoline from Russia.

The measure taken by the Russian power large Gazprom was in keeping with an earlier announcement following Helsinki’s refusal to pay for the gasoline in rubles as Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded European international locations do since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The Finnish state-owned gasoline firm Gasum mentioned that “natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum’s supply contract have been cut off” by Russia on Saturday morning at 7 a.m. native time (0400 GMT).

The announcement follows Moscow’s choice to chop off electrical energy exports to Finland earlier this month and an earlier choice by the Finnish state-controlled oil firm Neste to interchange imports of Russian crude oil with crude oil from elsewhere.

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After many years of power cooperation that was seen useful for each Helsinki — notably within the case of cheap Russian crude oil — and Moscow, Finland’s power ties with Russia at the moment are all however gone.

Such a break was simpler for Finland than it is going to be for different European Union nations. Natural gasoline accounts for just a few 5% of whole power consumption in Finland, a rustic of 5.5 million. Almost all of that gasoline comes from Russia, and is used primarily by industrial and different firms with solely an estimated 4,000 households counting on gasoline heating.

Gasum mentioned it might now provide pure gasoline to its clients from different sources via the undersea Balticconnector gasoline pipeline working between Finland and Estonia and connecting the Finnish and Baltic gasoline grids.

Matti Vanhanen, the previous Finnish prime minister and present speaker of Parliament, mentioned the impact of Moscow’s choice to chop off gasoline after practically 50 years because the first deliveries from the Soviet Union started is above all symbolic.

In an interview Saturday with the Finnish public broadcaster YLE, Vanhanen mentioned the choice marks an finish of “a hugely important period between Finland, the Soviet Union and Russia, not only in energy terms but symbolically.”

“That pipeline is unlikely to ever open again,” Vanhanen advised YLE, referring to the 2 parallel Russia-Finland pure gasoline pipelines that have been launched in 1974.

The first connections from Finland’s energy grid to the Soviet transmission system have been additionally constructed within the Nineteen Seventies, permitting electrical energy imports to Finland in case further capability was wanted.

Vanhanen didn’t see Moscow’s gasoline stoppage as a retaliatory step from Russia to Finland’s bid to hitch NATO however quite a countermove to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia did the same thing with Finland it has done earlier with some other countries to maintain its own credibility,” Vanhanen mentioned, referring to the Kremlin’s calls for to purchase its gasoline in rubles.

Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) with Russia, the longest of any of the EU’s 27 members, and has a conflict-ridden historical past with its large jap neighbor.

After shedding two wars to Soviet Union, in World War II, Finland opted for neutrality with steady and pragmatic political and financial ties with Moscow. Large-scale power cooperation, additionally together with nuclear energy, between the 2 international locations was probably the most seen indicators of pleasant bilateral ties between former enemies.

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