HELSINKY. Russian energy company Inter RAO early yesterday morning cut off electricity supplies to Finland through its subsidiary RAO Nordic Oy, citing "problems in receiving payments for electricity sold," reported Fingrid, the Finnish company that manages the power grid.
RAO Nordic Oy had warned that it was "forced to suspend electricity imports as of May 14", at a time when tensions between Russia and Finland are growing following the latter's announcement that it may seek NATO membership following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
According to Fingrid in a statement, electricity imported from Russia accounts for about 10 percent of the Nordic country's total consumption, so supply is not threatened.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin by telephone that Finland intends to apply for NATO membership in the next few days. Putin insisted to Niinistö that the Nordic country's renunciation of neutrality in order to join NATO would be a "wrong" decision.
Finland is counting on NATO membership, although it recognizes that the process may take "several months" and is confident that its border with Russia "will remain peaceful," said its foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto.
On the ground, the Russian Army has withdrawn from its positions near Kharkov, renouncing to assault Ukraine's second city, but is still trying to advance into the Donbas from the north, although for the moment with little success.
That region, bordering Russia, has become in recent days the symbol of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, whose objective is to liberate not only Kharkov, but the whole area to avoid the encirclement of its troops in northern Donetsk.
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the reason for the Russian withdrawal is both the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the limited ability of the Russian side to receive reinforcements.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received in Kiev a delegation of U.S. parliamentarians led by Mitch McConell, head of the Republican minority in the Senate.
The Ukrainian president thanked the United States for its leadership in supporting Ukraine and defending democracy.