Russia may soon cut off its gas supplies to Finland as its northwestern neighbor looks to join the NATO alliance, reports said Thursday.
Finnish politicians have sounded the alarm that Moscow could block the country’s energy deliveries as soon as Friday, but officials claim they have prepared for such a possibility, according to news outlet Iltalehti.
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Finland, traditionally a neutral country, has entered the murky arena of geopolitics and is the latest to have threats levied at it from Russia.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden announced they would consider joining NATO to bolster their security over concerns of instability in Europe.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday said Finland should begin the NATO application process “without delay.”
“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance,” the leaders said in a joint statement.
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Russia has threatened to position nuclear and hypersonic missile systems along its northwestern border with Finland if Helsinki and Stockholm move to expand NATO.
But Finland was reportedly prepared for gas ties with Russia to go sour prior to Thursday’s announcement.
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Helsinki announced last month it would not pay for Russian gas supplies in rubles after Russian President Vladimir Putin stipulated in late March that all nations must pay gas fees in the Russian currency.
The move was an attempt to bolster Russia’s crippled economy after it was slapped with stiff international sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
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Moscow cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after they refused to adhere to Putin’s fiscal demands.
The Finnish government has yet to publicly comment on the alleged threat to its gas supply, and the local publication said unnamed government sources were waiting to see how Russia will react.