Mikhail Svetlov via Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on August 21, 2019 in Helsinki, Finland.INTERNATIONAL – First response from the Kremlin. Russia will suspend its electricity deliveries to Finland from this Saturday, May 14, due to unpaid bills, announced this Friday, May 13 the supplier RAO Nordic Oy, 100% owned by the Russian company InterRAO. For its part, the Finnish network operator claims to be able to do without Russian electricity. This announcement comes against the backdrop of rising tensions between Moscow and Helsinki, which has announced its desire to join “without delay” the NATO under the influence of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. An intention seen with a very bad eye by Moscow, which has already threatened a “military-technical” response. Based in Helsinki, RAO Nordic Oy has not received payment for the electricity supplied to the Finland since May 6, the group said in a statement, citing a lack of means to pay for electricity imported from Russia. “This situation is exceptional and takes place for the first time in more than 20 years,” the statement said. “We are therefore forced to suspend the import of electricity from May 14”, explains the supplier who hopes “that the situation will soon improve” and that deliveries from Russia will resume. FinnishThe operator of the Finnish electricity grid has assured that it can do without power imports from Russia. “We were prepared for this and it won’t be difficult. We can manage with a little more imports from Sweden and Norway,” Timo Kaukonen, an operations manager for operator Fingrid, told AFP on Friday. The President and Prime Minister of Finland said they were in favor Thursday to an accession “without delay” to NATO, specifying that the decision of the Nordic country would be announced Sunday to the organization. Finland’s entry into NATO would “certainly” be a threat to Russia, the Kremlin reacted at the time. Russian diplomacy affirmed for its part that Russia will be “obligated to take reciprocal, military-technical and other measures, in order to put an end to the threats to its national security”, in the event of Finland joining the Organization. of the North Atlantic Treaty.Turkey is (already) blockingIn this context of rapprochement of Finland and Sweden to the Atlantic Alliance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed this Friday his hostility to the accession of the two Nordic countries in NATO, at the risk of blocking the whole process which requires the unanimity of the members of the Atlantic Alliance. “We do not have a positive opinion”, declared Erdogan, explaining that he “ does not want to see the same mistake made when Greece joined”. The Turkish head of state notably criticized these two Nordic countries for serving as a “hostel for the terrorists of the PKK”, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, but also by the European Union and United States. “We are currently following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we do not have a positive opinion, because they made a mistake in NATO regarding Greece before, against Turkey,” said the head of state at the end of Friday prayers in Istanbul. “We don’t want to make a second mistake,” he insisted. Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, who said he was ready to welcome them “with open arms”. For his part, Washington “is working to clarify Turkey’s position”, said the House spokeswoman Blanche Jen Psaki this Friday. The United States is “seeking to better understand Turkey’s position”, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, saying that the country was “a valuable NATO ally” and that this had “no exchange”. Turkey “has been involved and effective in trying to establish a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, and it has provided assistance to Ukraine,” he added. “So nothing changes as to its position in the NATO alliance.” See also on The HuffPost: Ukraine: the French army refuels NATO planes in full flight, above Poland
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