Finland Won't Pay Gas Company in Rubles. Russia Hits Back

Gazprom has cut off supply of gas to Nordic nation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2022 7:00 AM CDT
Russia Cuts Off Gas to Finland
The Lakhta Center, the headquarters of Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, is seen in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Jan. 13, 2022.   (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, file)

Things were already tense between Russia and Finland after the latter nation applied for NATO membership this week, and a new move by the former isn't going to alleviate that tension. Due to crippling sanctions against its central bank because of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has asked customers from "unfriendly" countries to pay for gas it provides via its state-owned Gazprom with rubles to circumvent those sanctions, notes Al Jazeera. But Finland has refused to do so, and so Gazprom ceased delivering gas there on Saturday, in what Reuters calls the "latest escalation of an energy payments dispute with Western nations."

"Natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum's supply contract have been cut off," state-owned Finnish gas wholesaler Gasum says in a statement. The company noted that, effective immediately, Finland will pull in its gas through the Balticconnector pipeline, which connects Finland to Estonia's gas system.

Finland isn't the only European nation seeing its gas supply from Russia axed: Poland and Bulgaria were also cut off last month. Reuters notes that although most of the country's gas does originate in Russia, gas makes up only 5% or so of its annual energy consumption. Between that and the fact that Finnish gas system operator Gasgrid says it prepared for this moment with a contingency plan, company officials don't seem terribly concerned. "The Finnish gas system is in balance both physically and commercially," Gasgrid said Saturday. (More Russia stories.)

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