Topline

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Finland on Saturday that abandoning military neutrality to join NATO would be “wrong,” as Russia halted electricity deliveries to Finland in apparent retaliation to the country’s decision to apply for membership in the military alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Key Facts

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Putin told Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in a phone call that applying to join NATO could have a negative effect on Russian-Finnish relations because “there are no threats to Finland’s security,” according to a readout of the call from the Kremlin.

Niinisto said on the call that Russian demands last year aiming to prevent countries from joining NATO and the invasion of Ukraine have fundamentally “altered the security environment of Finland,” according to to Niinisto’s office.

Niinisto told Putin that Finland will seek NATO membership in the coming days.

Putin and Niinisto’s call comes as Russian power grid operator Inter RAO cut off electricity exports to Finland on Saturday after its subsidiary, RAO Nordic, said it has had difficulty receiving Finnish payments due to sanctions.

Finland’s grid operator, Fingrid, said in a statement Russian electricity accounts for about 10% of Finland’s consumption and it does not expect electricity shortages.

Fingrid Vice President Reima Päivinen said in a statement Finland will replace the electricity with domestic production or imports from Sweden.