A drilling rig with a gas processing facility operated by Gazprom.
Maxim Shemetov | Reuters
Russia may have taken its first retaliatory action against Finland after Helsinki lawmakers formally applied to join the military alliance NATO.
Gasum, Finland’s state-owned gas wholesaler, said in a statement on Friday morning that imports of natural gas from Russia would be stopped from Saturday.
“On Friday afternoon, May 20, Gazprom Exports informed Gasum that the supply of natural gas to Finland will be cut off at 07.00 on Saturday, May 21, 2022, under the gas supply agreement,” it said in a statement.
Gasum CEO Mika Wiljanen added that the company was preparing for such a situation “and if there is no disruption to the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply gas to all our customers in the coming months.”
“Gasum will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources through the Baltic connecting pipeline. Gasum’s gas filling stations in the gas network area will continue to operate normally,” he said.
A spokesman for Gazprom was not immediately available for comment.
Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom told Poland and Bulgaria in April that it would cut off supplies after both countries rejected Moscow’s demand for a supply of gas in rubles.
Finland applied to join NATO
Gassum gave no reason for the move, but Finland also reportedly refused to pay for Russian gas in rubles. It comes just two days after Finland formally applied to join NATO. Russia has warned of retaliation if a traditionally neutral country becomes a member of the Western military alliance.
Following Finland’s request, Moscow, along with fellow Nordic country Sweden, wasted no time in expressing its feelings, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that NATO expansion was “a problem.”
Putin said Russia would respond to the expansion of military infrastructure in Sweden and Finland, but also stressed that Moscow had “no problems” with the countries.
Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO is not yet a final agreement, as any decision to expand would require the approval of all 30 members of the alliance and their parliaments – and Turkey has already objected.
– CNBC’s Holly Elliott contributed to this article.