Russia cuts off gasoline exports to Finland in symbolic transfer

Russia has halted pure gasoline exports to neighboring Finland

HELSINKI — Russia halted gasoline exports to neighboring Finland on Saturday, a extremely symbolic transfer that got here simply days after the Nordic nation introduced it wished to affix NATO and marked a possible finish to Finland’s almost 50 years of importing pure gasoline from Russia.

The Finnish state-owned gasoline firm Gasum mentioned that “pure gasoline provides to Finland underneath Gasum’s provide contract have been minimize off” by Russia on Saturday morning at 7 a.m. native time (0400 GMT).

The announcement follows Moscow’s choice to chop off electrical energy exports to Finland earlier this month and an earlier choice by the Finnish state-controlled oil firm Neste to interchange imports of Russian crude oil with crude oil from elsewhere.

After a long time of power cooperation that was seen helpful for each Helsinki — notably within the case of cheap Russian crude oil — and Moscow, Finland’s power ties with Russia are actually all however gone.

Such a break was simpler for Finland than will probably be for different European Union nations. Pure gasoline accounts for just a few 5% of complete power consumption in Finland, a rustic of 5.5 million. Virtually all of that gasoline comes from Russia, and is used primarily by industrial and different firms with solely an estimated 4,000 households counting on gasoline heating.

Gasum mentioned it might now provide pure gasoline to its prospects from different sources via the undersea Balticconnector gasoline pipeline operating between Finland and Estonia and connecting the Finnish and Baltic gasoline grids.

Matti Vanhanen, the previous Finnish prime minister and present speaker of Parliament, mentioned the impact of Moscow’s choice to chop off gasoline after almost 50 years for the reason that first deliveries from the Soviet Union started is above all symbolic.

In an interview Saturday with the Finnish public broadcaster YLE, Vanhanen mentioned the choice marks an finish of “a massively essential interval between Finland, the Soviet Union and Russia, not solely in power phrases however symbolically.”

“That pipeline is unlikely to ever open once more,” Vanhanen instructed YLE, referring to the 2 parallel Russia-Finland pure gasoline pipelines that have been launched in 1974.

The primary connections from Finland’s energy grid to the Soviet transmission system have been additionally constructed within the Seventies, permitting electrical energy imports to Finland in case further capability was wanted.

Vanhanen didn’t see Moscow’s gasoline stoppage as a retaliatory step from Russia to Finland’s bid to affix NATO however slightly a countermove to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia did the identical factor with Finland it has achieved earlier with another international locations to keep up its personal credibility,” Vanhanen mentioned, referring to the Kremlin’s calls for to purchase its gasoline in rubles.

Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) with Russia, the longest of any of the EU’s 27 members, and has a conflict-ridden historical past with its enormous jap neighbor.

After shedding two wars to Soviet Union, in World Conflict II, Finland opted for neutrality with steady and pragmatic political and financial ties with Moscow. Giant-scale power cooperation, additionally together with nuclear energy, between the 2 international locations was one of the vital seen indicators of pleasant bilateral ties between former enemies.


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