After dangling for months a possible end to exports if its Western customers did not pay in roubles, the Kremlin has followed through on its threats. Finland’s natural gas supply from Russia was cut off on Saturday, Finland’s state-owned energy company Gasum said.

“Natural gas deliveries to Finland under Gasum’s supply contract have been halted,” the company said in a statement, adding that gas would now be supplied from other sources via the Balticconnector pipeline, which connects Finland to Estonia. The Finnish group said on Friday that it had been informed by the Russian giant Gazprom of the interruption of deliveries this Saturday.

In April, Gazprom demanded that all future payments for its export gas deliveries be made in rubles rather than euros. The goal ? Avoid taking on the economic sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine by forcing Westerners to buy local currency. Gasum had rejected this demand and the group had announced on Tuesday that it was seeking arbitration in court.

The announcement comes a few days after the suspension of Russian electricity exports to Finland, due to payment problems. While gas represents only 8% of the energy consumed in Finland, that used by the Nordic country comes mainly from Russia. Gasum, however, assured that it would be able to obtain gas from other suppliers and that it would continue its activities “normally”.

The European Union is getting ready

Finland had already unveiled plans on Friday to do without Russian gas next winter, notably announcing the ten-year lease, jointly with neighboring Estonia, of a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal. .

Several countries that refused to pay in rubles for not supporting the Russian economy during the war in Ukraine, such as Poland and Bulgaria, have already had their gas cut off by Gazprom. As a result, the European Union is preparing to do without Russian gas.

In addition, Finland and its Swedish neighbor decided to join NATO because of the Russian offensive against Ukraine, judging that Moscow was a threat. A shift, while for decades, especially throughout the Cold War, the two countries had made the choice of non-alignment. Finland in particular shares some 1,300 km of borders with Russia.

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Moscow has already warned Helsinki that a formal application for NATO membership would be “a serious mistake with far-reaching consequences”. Russia had justified its attack in Ukraine in particular by the rapprochement of its western neighbor with NATO, believing that this posed an “existential” threat to its security.