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US: Sanctions update won't affect relations with Finland

The United States says that its most recent sanctions list – which includes a number of Finnish companies and businessmen – will not affect relations with Finland. The State Department’s sanctions coordinator said that the individuals and companies that have been placed on the sanctions list have close ties previously blacklisted Russian businessmen.

Daniel Fried mikrofonien takana.
The US Ambassador responsible for coordinating sanctions, Daniel Fried. Image: Lajos Soos / EPA

US State Department sanctions coordinator Daniel Fried said that the intention of its latest sanctions list is not to hurt Finnish companies or businessmen.

However the US said that the individuals and companies that appeared on its updated blacklist Friday have close ties with Russian tycoons Gennadi Timshenko and Boris Rotenberg, who are themselves already facing economic sanctions.

Fried said on Friday that the updated blacklist will not affect bilateral relations with Finland.

Fennovoima nuclear project potentially at risk?

Meanwhile researcher Mika Aaltola of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs said that Finland should keep an eye on its controversial proposed Fennovoima nuclear power project, since the US can continue to add companies and individuals to its sanctions list.

The Russian state-owned nuclear power contractor Rosatom owns 34 percent of the nuclear power plant to be constructed on the Hanhikivi peninsula in Pyhäjoki, northwest Finland.

"At least for now the sanctions list doesn’t affect Russian interests that are directly involved in the Hanhikivi project. However it is a risk that could materialise in the future and it’s important to take into consideration when we think about how major Russian government projects are implemented in Finland," Aaltola observed.

The think tank researcher pointed out that Finland and Europe are still quite dependent on Russia.

"Europe has tried to create strategies to reduce energy dependence on Russia, because it’s one of the central tools that Russia uses to influence EU decision-making and Finnish political policy," he pointed out.

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