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Finnish president talks to Putin about NATO

Russia suspends electricity to Finland: Finnish grid operator


May 15, 2022 00:00:00


HELSINKI, May 14 ( AFP): Finnish President Sauli Niinisto spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday regarding the Nordic country's application for NATO membership, which is expected to be announced this weekend, his office said.

"The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important," Niinisto was quoted as saying in a statement by his office. "The phone call was initiated by Finland."

Russia suspended electricity supplies to Finland overnight after its energy firm RAO Nordic threatened to cut off supplies over payment arrears, an official for Finland's grid operator told AFP on Saturday.

"It is at zero at the moment, and that started from midnight as planned," Timo Kaukonen, manager for operational planning at Fingrid, said.

RAO Nordic had Friday said it would suspend supplies, citing problems with payments, as Helsinki prepares to announce its application for NATO membership in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

But the shortfall was being made up by imports from Sweden. Finland imports about 10 percent of its power from Russia.

RAO Nordic says it has not been paid for electricity since May 6 but has not spelt out if this was linked to European sanctions against Russia.

Moscow's February 24 invasion has swung political and public opinion in Finland and Sweden in favour of NATO membership as a deterrent against Russian aggression.

Both countries have long cooperated with the Western military alliance and are expected to be able to join it quickly.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly said they would be welcomed "with open arms".


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