Putin tells Finnish president: Joining NATO would be a “mistake” | Energy news

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The Kremlin’s warning comes as Moscow cuts Finland’s electricity supply over Helsinki’s bid to join NATO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his Finnish counterpart that joining NATO would be “a mistake” because Moscow cut off the Nordic country’s electricity supply earlier – in what is seen as retaliation for the Helsinki measures.

“Putin stressed that ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake because there is no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.

“Such a change in the political orientation of the country may have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed over the years in the spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation between partners,” he said.

The phone call, which was “initiated by Finland…was direct and direct and it went without escalation. Avoiding tensions was considered important,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in a statement from his office.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 swung political and public opinion in Finland and neighboring Sweden in favor of NATO membership as a deterrent against Russian aggression.

Niinisto, who has communicated regularly with Putin in recent years, said the Nordic country and eurozone member “wants to deal with the practical issues arising from being a neighbor of Russia in a proper and professional manner. “.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto stressed that it was “very important that we communicate with our neighbour”, even if “we do not ask for any authorization for our political steps”.

On Saturday, the Finnish grid operator said Russia had suspended electricity supply to Finland overnight after its energy company RAO Nordic threatened to cut off the supply due to overdue payments. [File: Martin Meissner/AP Photo]

Moscow said it would “certainly” view Finland’s membership as a threat, warning it would be “forced to take reciprocal military-technical and other measures to deal with the resulting threats”.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Saturday that her country was “prepared for different kinds of action” from Moscow. “But there is no information that Russia will take military action against Finland,” she said.

Russia suspends electricity supply to Finland

On Saturday, the Finnish grid operator said Russia had suspended electricity supply to Finland overnight after its energy company RAO Nordic threatened to cut off the supply due to overdue payments.

“It’s zero at the moment, and it started from midnight as planned,” Timo Kaukonen, operational planning manager at Fingrid, said on Saturday.

Nevertheless, Finland – which imports only around 10% of its electricity from Russia – said the shortfall was made up by imports from Sweden.

RAO Nordic said it had not been paid for electricity since May 6, but did not say whether this was related to European sanctions against Russia.

After the official announcement of Finland’s application for NATO membership on Sunday, it will be discussed by parliament on Monday.

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