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March 2, 2024 (EIRNS)—Ville Niinistö, a Member of the European Parliament from Finland’s Green Party, has written a letter addressed to EU institutions in which he calls for a total ban on Russian energy exports into the European market. “We call on the European Commission to initiate and on member states to adopt without delay a total ban on Russian energy commodities in the EU market,” he wrote, reported Euractiv. The letter was co-signed by 60 MEPs from several countries. They praised Alexei Navalny as Russia’s “bravest fighter for freedom.” A proposed EU Parliament bill would allow individual countries to limit the amount of imported Russian gas. Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria are not amused. In 2021, Europe imported 155 bcm from Russia (45% of imports) and in 2022, 60 bcm.

In Helsinki, meanwhile, the pro-NATO politician Alexander Stubb was sworn in as Finland’s 13th President yesterday, succeeding President Sauli Niinistö, Ville’s uncle. In his inaugural speech, Stubb promised that Finland’s membership in NATO meant “a new era” for the country. “We are standing on the threshold of a new era. [Joining] NATO meant that we took a final step into the community of Western values that our Republic has considered itself part of throughout Finland’s independence,” he said, reported the Yle broadcaster. Stubb noted that public debate in Finland had become “very belligerent,” because the discussions surround topics like wars being fought in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “However, warlike rhetoric should not obscure the fact that we Finns are a peace-loving nation,” he said, adding that his role as President is to ensure peace is maintained “under all circumstances.”

Yle also reported separately that the Finnish air force is sending a dozen F-18 fighter jets and 250 personnel to the NATO Nordic Response exercise, an Arctic component of the larger Steadfast Defender 2024 exercise. Yle reports that according to a Finnish Air Force press release, the main objective of the drills, which are being held on March 4-15, is to develop “the ability to plan and execute multinational air operations in the north as part of joint NATO operations.”