Image Source: Reuters
On Saturday, Russian energy giant Gazprom said that all gas exports to Finland had been halted after Helsinki refused to pay in roubles.
Gasum, the Finnish national energy company, did not accept Moscow’s requirements by the 20 May deadline, prompting Gazprom to “totally halt gas delivery,” according to a statement from the Russian firm.
At the same time, many feel the Kremlin is taking advantage of the situation to retaliate for Finland’s plan to apply for NATO membership, which Russian President Vladimir Putin regards as hostile.
The Kremlin has indicated that it will be “forced to take reciprocal steps, military-technical and other, to handle the resulting dangers” in response to Finland’s decision.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and the introduction of Western sanctions, Putin demanded in late March that importers of Russian gas from “unfriendly” countries pay in roubles from Russian accounts or face losing access to supplies.
The United States, EU member states, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan, South Korea, Norway, and Australia are among the “unfriendly countries.” Russian gas is primarily consumed by EU countries.
“As of April 1, gas payments must be made in roubles using new bank details, which the partners were notified of in advance,” Gazprom said.
According to the Russian company, Finland received 1.49 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2021, accounting for two-thirds of the country’s consumption.
However, according to 2020 statistics, natural gas accounts for about 6% of Finland’s energy consumption, and the Nordic country has stated that consumers will be unaffected by Gazprom’s decision because it relies on other sources of supply.
Gazprom halted all gas supply to Bulgaria and Poland in late April, citing the two EU nations’ failure to pay in roubles.
On Sunday, Russia ceased supplying electricity to Finland. Finland has threatened retaliation if it 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 its board of directors.
The public’s outrage over Mr Schröder’s wealthy position has intensified. He has remained silent on Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine, whom he respects as a personal buddy.