Finland and Sweden to confirm plans to join NATO in June

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RAO Nordic, a subsidiary of Russian state energy holding Inter RAO, will suspend imports of electricity to the Scandinavian country from 1am on Saturday. Direct or bilateral sales of electricity imported from Russia will be halted until further notice. This is due to issues in receiving payments for electricity sold on the market.

The firm said it had not received payment for volumes sold in May.

It said in a statement: “We are forced to suspend the electricity import starting from May 14,” adding that

“RAO Nordic is not able to make payments for the imported electricity from Russia.

“This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over 20 years of our trading history.

The firm hopes the situation would improve “soon” so that trade can resume.

Fingrid, the Finnish transmission system operator, said Nord Pool, the pan-European power exchange, had not paid Inter RAO since May 6 for electricity it bought from the Russian utility.

Reima Paivinen, Fingrid’s senior-vice president for operations, told Reuters: “Nord Pool is the one paying for them.

“Fingrid is not a party in this electricity trade, we provide the transfer connection from Russia to Finland.”

A Nord Pool spokesperson said the firm does not comments on market information that customers have reported via urgent market messages.

During recent years, imported electricity from Russia has covered around 10 percent of Finland’s total consumption.

But Mr Päivinen calmed fears over any mass electricity shortage that could hit Finland as a result of this latest development. 

He insisted: “The lack of electricity import from Russia will be compensated by importing more electricity from Sweden and by generating more electricity in Finland.”

On Thursday, Finland said it would join NATO “without delay”, with Sweden expected to follow – sparking fury in Russia.

The decision from the two Nordic countries to abandon the neutrality they maintained throughout the Cold War would be one of the biggest shifts in European security over recent years.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement: “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the Finns would be “warmly welcomed” and promised a “smooth and swift” accession process.

But Russia has warned the move from Finland is a direct threat to its own country, and threatened retaliation, including unspecified “military-technical” measures.

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