After the failure, on the other hand, expected, having learned that Finland officially begins the path to joining NATO, yesterday, Saturday, was a day of warnings and notifications in Russia. “This is a mistake,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto by telephone when he called, perhaps to soften Russia’s response after decades of cordial understanding in which Helsinki repeatedly acted as a mediator with the West.
Russia promised to respond to Finland’s (as well as Sweden’s) entry into NATO. Whether they will be diplomatic, in the form of a military deployment or economic, will only become known when the deployment is effective and Moscow observes the activity of the allies in the Baltic region.
Despite the coincidence in time, the blackout experienced by Russia yesterday in Finland does not fall under these future responses. Russian energy company Inter Rao cut off early morning power from Friday to Saturday through its subsidiary RAO Nordic Oy, but said it had “problems with accepting payments for electricity sold.”
This week, the Finnish media warned of an immediate halt to gas supplies, denied by the Kremlin, as well as Finnish gas company Gasgrid Finland. But this could happen at the end of the month, and this will be a consequence of the current crisis, since Finland has refused to pay for Russian gas in rubles, as required by Moscow.
Finnish Social Democrats approve entry and hope to reverse Turkey’s hostility
During a telephone conversation with Niinistö, “Vladimir Putin stressed that abandoning the traditional policy of military neutrality would be wrong, since there are no threats to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin’s press service noted. According to Putin, “such a change in the course of foreign policy may have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations, which for many years were built in the spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation, were mutually beneficial.”
The Finnish leader called Moscow to explain the reasons for the decision taken in Helsinki, the Finnish chairmanship said in a statement. Niinistö justified this as “a fundamental change brought about by Russian demands in late 2021 to prevent countries from joining NATO and Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 to the security of Finland.”
Moscow believes that Russia’s alleged threats against Finland are “false accusations.” Alexander Grushko, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said yesterday that this was an attempt to “demonize” Russia. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in turn, said that “the West has declared a total hybrid war against us, and it is difficult to predict how long all this will last, but it is clear that the consequences will be felt without exception. “
The Russian warnings do not seem to work on the Finnish government. Yesterday Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democratic Party announced its support for the Scandinavian country’s candidacy for the Atlantic Organization. Of the 60 members of the party leadership, 53 voted in favor, five against and two abstained.
Change in Helsinki could affect ‘long-term good relations’ between two countries, Putin says
The head of Finnish diplomacy, Pekka Haavisto, was also confident that they would come to an understanding with Turkey, despite the country’s expressed hostility to joining for reasons officially related to northern countries’ tolerance of Kurdish political organizations. These demonstrations Haavisto held at the entrance to an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers, which takes place this weekend in Berlin. Like other countries of the organization, Turkey has the right to veto new members.
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