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Swedish ministers to forego Russian party

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Swedish ministers to forego Russian party
Sweden is uncomfortable about a planned military parade on May 9th. Photo: TT
16:25 CEST+02:00
Neither Stefan Löfven nor any other cabinet-level ministers will be attending the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Moscow in May, according to the prime minister's press office.

The reason ministers won’t be in Moscow on May 9, according to Stefan Löfven’s press secretary Anne Ekberg, is Russian’s actions in Ukraine.

She told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that Sweden has the utmost respect for the great sacrifices Russia made during the Second World War. But given the hostilities in Ukraine, it would be difficult for representatives of the highest levels of Sweden’s government to be present at a planned military parade in Moscow, which will be part of the celebration.

Instead, Sweden’s ambassador to Russia will attend the events.

Ekberg said Sweden had had discussions with its Nordic neighbours over the level of representation. Finland and Norway will be sending their ambassadors as well.

May 9th is an important date on the Russian calendar, and this year’s 70th anniversary celebrations are set to include 26 leaders from abroad, according to the Kremlin. Leaders from Cuba, China and North Korea are set to attend. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will make his first state visit to Russia for the commemoration.

But several European nations have already announced they will not send top officials. Germany, Great Britain, the Baltic countries and Poland have already sent their regrets. 

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