Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow on May 6, 2022.

Russia is cutting off its supply of natural gas to Finland as of Saturday as Helsinki moves forward with its effort to join NATO in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finnish energy company Gasum on Friday said it had been notified by the Russian energy giant Gazprom that it would shut off its supply of gas the next day.

The announcement comes as Russia demands that Finland pay for the natural gas in rubles, which Finland has refused to do.

It also adds a new layer to an escalating energy fight between Russia and much of Europe fueled by the war in Ukraine.

The European Union earlier this month proposed an oil ban on imports from Russia. This week, the EU unveiled additional details on its plan to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas. 

Russia has already cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria. 

President Biden has hailed the efforts of Finland and Sweden to join NATO after decades outside the bloc. Both countries took steps to join the military alliance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February. The leaders of Sweden and Finland met with Biden at the White House on Thursday.

Gasum said in a statement said that starting on Saturday, it will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline, which goes between Finland and Estonia.

Gasum’s CEO Mika Wiljanen in a statement called the shut off “regrettable” but said that the company should still be able to supply gas to consumers. 

“We have been carefully preparing for this situation and provided that there will be no disruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply all our customers with gas in the coming months,”  Wiljanen said. 

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