Finland state

Finland stops selling Russian vodka after NATO threat

Finland suspends sale of Russian alcohol in protest against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Alko, which holds a monopoly on Finland’s alcoholic drinks market, made the move on Monday as the war entered its fifth day.

“The situation in Ukraine is exceptional and shocking, and we have taken the situation seriously,” Anu Koskinen, Alko’s vice president of selection and procurement, said in a statement.

The company said it has been in talks with various parties since the outbreak of war on February 24, including with companies that import drinks such as Russian vodka, popular in Finland.

Customers have also “expressed concern” about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, where heavy fighting continues in several cities across the country, including the capital Kyiv.

The ban went into effect on Monday, February 28, and will continue indefinitely.

It came as Russia’s currency, the rouble, plunged against the US dollar after Western countries moved to toughen sanctions on Russia, blocking some of its banks from the SWIFT global payment system.

In response to the collapse, Russia’s central bank raised its key rate from 9.5% to 20% in a desperate attempt to prop up the currency’s slide and prevent a run on the banks.

This brought temporary respite to the Russian currency, which rebounded to where it was last week, but only briefly.

The ruble plunged more than 30% after the decision to block Russian banks from the SWIFT payment system.

A Ukrainian military vehicle is seen after the curfew was lifted in the capital Kyiv

(Reuters)

The sanctions include restrictions intended to restrict the Russian central bank’s access to more than $600 billion in reserves and hamper its ability to support the rouble.

A weaker ruble is expected to cause inflation to spike, which could anger Russians whose budgets will be strained by soaring prices.

It will also add to strains in Russian financial systems.

Finland was among a number of non-NATO-aligned European countries that brushed aside Moscow’s warning that joining the military alliance would have “serious military-political consequences”.

People trying to flee Ukraine stand on a platform waiting for trains inside Lviv station (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue/PA)

(AP)

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement on Friday expressed concern over what it described as efforts by the United States and some of its allies to “drag” Finland and Sweden into NATO and warned that Moscow would be forced to retaliate if they joined NATO. North Atlantic grouping.

Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s foreign minister, said on Saturday that “we’ve heard this before”.

“We don’t think that calls for a military threat,” Ms Haavisto said in an interview with Finnish state broadcaster YLE.

“If Finland were NATO’s outer border, it rather means that Russia would certainly take it into account in its own defense planning. I don’t see anything new as such,” she added.

Finland has a 1,340 kilometer (830 mile) land border with Russia – the longest border shared by a European Union member state and Russia.