War in Ukraine | Russia cuts power to Finland

In a move that looks like the first retaliation against Finland’s plan to join NATO, Russia, through the distribution company RAO Nordic, will cut off electricity to its neighbor as of Saturday at 1 a.m. local time.

A first in 20 years, the situation arises due to vague payment problems mentioned by RAO Nordic. On the Finnish side, the Fingrid distribution network indicated that this decision did not jeopardize the ability to distribute all the electricity needed across the country.

The decline can be offset by increasing electricity imports from Sweden, a neighboring country to the west, and by increasing local production.

In normal times, the purchase of Russian electricity represents around 10% of Finland’s consumption.

Remember that on Thursday, Finland and Sweden expressed their desire to join the ranks of NATO. Finland, which shares a 1,340 kilometer border with Russia, is expected to officially announce on Sunday its intention to join the transatlantic mutual defense body. The question must however be debated at the beginning of the week by the parliamentarians.

In response, Russia indicated that it would take “military-technical” measures to deal with this “threat to its national security”.

Zelensky revives Putin

As he had done on several occasions since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, on Friday extended his hand to his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, reiterating his willingness to hold face to face talks.

In an interview with the Italian channel Rai 1, Mr. Zelensky declared: “As president, I am ready to speak to Putin, but only to him. Without intermediaries. And by adopting a canvas of dialogue, and not of ultimatums. »

The Ukrainian leader, however, warns that he will not make any territorial concessions to Russia. The basis of the discussion should be the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, he said.

Failure of a Russian crossing

In the field, at 79and day of the conflict, Russian forces failed when they tried to cross the Donets, a river, in the Severodonetsk sector, in the Donbass. Disseminated by Ukrainian officials, the information was validated, with supporting images, by the British intelligence services, reports The Guardian. The British believe that the Russian military lost armor and pontoon elements to be used to cross the river. The Ukrainians also claim to have inflicted damage on another Russian vessel, the Vsevolod Bobrov, in the region of Serpents’ Island, facing Odessa. Russian forces also continue to shell the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, where nearly a thousand Ukrainian fighters, including many wounded, are still holed up.

Cereals: towards a crisis?

The non-resolution of the war in Ukraine also raises more and more concerns about the “food security” of several countries, we note. On Friday, Adalbert Jahnz, spokesman for the European Commission, warned that Ukraine’s inability to send the fruits of its grain harvest abroad poses a “gigantic challenge”. According to him, 40 million tons of cereals are currently stored in Ukraine and it will be necessary to make room by the end of July, because the stocks of the next harvest will not be able to be stored. About 75% of Ukrainian wheat is destined for export, one-third to Europe, one-third to China and one-third to Africa. Italy plans to hold a ministerial summit on the issue in June.

A senator stops US aid

In Washington, Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky opposed unanimous Senate support for sending $40 billion in aid to Ukraine. President Joe Biden’s initiative is widely supported by both Democrats and Republicans. However, Rand Paul has blocked the unanimous Senate agreement needed to speed up the process by demanding guarantees that an inspector general will ensure that the money is properly spent. On Twitter, he received the support of Donald Trump son. The Senate will try again to pass the measure next week.

Moscow expels ten Romanian diplomats

Moscow announced Friday the expulsion of ten Romanian diplomats and a Bulgarian. The Kremlin is acting in retaliation for a decision announced on April 5 by Bucharest to expel ten Russian diplomats “whose activities were contrary to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”. Russia condemns Romania for its “unfounded attempts […] to put the blame for war crimes in Ukraine on Russia”.

With The GuardianNBC News, The Washington PostAgence France-Presse, Franceinfo and the Associated Press

What there is to know

  • Russia cuts electricity supply to Finland.
  • President Volodymyr Zelensky wants face-to-face talks with Vladimir Putin.
  • Russian soldiers fail to cross a river.
  • War threatens to jeopardize food security.

Learn more

  • 101
    In a video released on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that since the start of the war, 570 health facilities, including 101 hospitals, had been destroyed by the Russians. “It’s barbarism,” he added.

    Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS

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