Finland Braces for Power Outages amid Energy Gridlock

Finland Braces for Power Outages amid Energy Gridlock

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Finland is bracing for rolling blackouts this winter amid an energy crisis caused by cuts in Russian gas and electricity.

Arto Pahkin, a network operations manager at the Finnish electricity grid operator Fingrid Oyj, warned that there would a large-scale national disruption and “people could die” without the planned outages, Sputnik reported.

The remarks followed the Russian energy giant Gazprom stopping its gas exports to Finland in May, in a move that was preceded by Helsinki announcing its NATO bid and refusing to comply with Moscow's demands to pay for the blue fuel in rubles.

Finland's state-run gas company Gasum said in a statement at the time that "natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum's supply contract have been cut off" at 7 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) on May 21.

A Finnish media outlet quoted Matti Vanhanen, the country’s former prime minister and current speaker of Parliament, as saying that Gazprom’s decision marks an end of "a hugely important period between Finland, the Soviet Union and Russia, not only in energy terms but symbolically."

Earlier that month, Russia scrapped its electricity exports to Finland, in what was followed by Finland's state-controlled oil company Neste deciding to replace imports of Russian crude oil with supplies from other countries.

In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to hammer out mechanisms for payments to be made in rubles for Russian natural gas exports by countries designated by Moscow as “unfriendly”.

The decision came about a month after the US and its allies slapped packages of sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow launching what it calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine. Putin later pointed out the sanctions had backfired on those who imposed them.

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