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A photograph shows the Utrenneye field, the resource base for Novatek's Arctic LNG 2 project, located in the Gydan Peninsula on the Kara Sea shore line in the Arctic circle, some 2500 km from Moscow, Russia, on Nov. 30, 2021. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images)
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Finland plans to ban imports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) from next year, Finnish Environment and Climate Minister Kai Mykkanen told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Jan. 5.

Fossil fuel profits constitute a substantial portion of Russia's economy, helping fund its war against Ukraine. Mykkanen announced in November that Finland was aiming to ban Russian LNG but was awaiting a new package of European Union gas market legislation.

The EU reached a deal on Dec. 8 that allowed individual countries to effectively ban Russian shipments of LNG.

The EU has not imposed sanctions on Russian LNG, and EU nations bought record amounts of LNG from Russia in 2023.

One issue is that some European companies have long-term contracts with Russian companies, meaning that stopping imports would require paying compensation to Russia.

The new EU proposal therefore permits a ban on Russian and Belarusian companies buying capacities in European gas pipelines and LNG terminals, allowing European energy firms to leave contracts with Russian suppliers without paying cancellation fees.

Some countries, such as the U.K., Latvia, and Lithuania, have already stopped buying LNG from Russia. According to Mykkanen, the EU ruling makes an import ban for Finland more straightforward.

"I don't want to promise any specific date, but hopefully next year we will be in such a situation that the ban will be in effect," Mykkanen said.

Russia delivered nearly 16 million tons of LNG to Europe last year, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

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