Russia warns Finland;calls joining NATO a huge mistake

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned his Finnish counterpart that joining Nato and abandoning Finland’s neutral status would be a “mistake”.

He told Sauli Niinistö there was no threat to Finland’s security.

The exchange came during a phone call made by the Finnish president, ahead of a formal request which Finland is expected to announce very soon.

Sweden has also indicated its intention to join the Western alliance, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia. Until now, it has stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour.

Mr Putin did not make a specific threat of retaliation over Finland’s move, but the Russian foreign ministry has indicated there will be retaliation.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia has warned Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila that joining Nato and relinquishing its neutral status would be a “disaster.”

He assured Sauli Niinistö that Finland’s security was unaffected.

The conversation took place during a phone call by Finland’s president, ahead of a formal request that Finland is scheduled to make soon.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden has expressed its desire to join the Western alliance.

Finland and Russia have a 1,300-kilometer (810-mile) border. To avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour, it has kept out of Nato until now.

Mr Putin did not directly threaten reprisal in response to Finland’s move, but the Russian foreign ministry has signalled that retaliation will occur.
Russian energy supplier RAO Nordic says it will suspend deliveries of electricity to Finland from Saturday, citing problems with payments.

The company said it had not been paid for previous deliveries.

The Finnish grid operator said Russia provided only a small percentage of the country’s electricity and that it could be replaced from alternative sources.

On Thursday, Russia threatened to take “retaliatory steps” after Finland said it planned to join Nato.

Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and has previously stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour.

However, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine there has been a surge in public support for Nato membership.

On Sunday Finland is expected to formally announce its plan to join.

The decision by Rao Nordic has not been explicitly tied to Finland’s decision.

The Russian state-owned firm said: “This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over twenty years of our trading history”.

Neither Rao Nordic nor the grid operator in Finland, Fingrid, explained what was behind the payment difficulties.

Last month Russia cut supplies of gas to Bulgaria and Poland after they refused to comply with a demand to pay in roubles, a change they said would contravene western sanctions.

This week Russia’s Gazprom announced it would stop supplying gas via the Polish part of the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

Fingrid said it did not expect electricity shortages as a result of the shut off, as only around 10% of Finland’s electricity is supplied from Russia.

“The lack of electricity import from Russia will be compensated by importing more electricity from Sweden and by generating more electricity in Finland,” said Reima Päivinen, senior vice president of power system operations at Fingrid.

Demand is also decreasing as the weather gets warmer, while a significant amount of extra wind power generation is expected to come on stream.

A new nuclear power station, expected to open this summer, would more than make up for the lost supplies from Russia, Fingrid added.

The Finnish official, however, didn’t pay much heed to the threat from Russia and seem to stay firm on their decision of joining the NATO forces.

Russia,on the other hand, delivering statements against Finland’s move on joining the NATO forces.

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