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Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Police investigate the site of an explosion outside an apartment building in Rosengård, Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish Prime Minister condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who had previously stopped short of describing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as an invasion, stated in a tweet this morning that “Sweden condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s acts are also an attack on the European security order. It will be met by a united and robust response in solidarity with Ukraine. Russia alone is responsible for human suffering.”

Andersson joins other prominent world figures in condemning the invasion, such as UN General Secretary António Guterres, who appealed to Russia’s president Putin to bring his troops back to Russia “ in the name of humanity”, and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who stated that the union would hold Russia “accountable”, saying that her thoughts were “with Ukraine and the innocent women, men and children as they face this unprovoked attack and fear for their lives”.

Swedish vocabulary: fördömercondemns

Coronavirus Commission to present final report tomorrow

The Coronavirus Commission, set up in June 2020, is tasked with investigating the response to the coronavirus and evaluating the actions by the Swedish government and other authorities. It is headed by Mats Melin, an attorney who formerly served on Sweden’s top court for administrative cases.

Their first report, which looked specifically at the handling of the pandemic in the elderly care sector, was presented in December 2020. Their second report was presented in October last year. It highlighted significant failings in Sweden’s testing and tracing process, labelling its initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic “insufficient” and “late”.

The third and final report, due tomorrow, is expected to discuss whether Sweden’s pandemic strategy was the correct choice for the country, as well as who should be held accountable if not.

To answer these questions, the commission have looked at how Swedish society has been affected on a larger scale, such as public health, Swedish economy and individual finances, as well as a comparison with other countries.

The Local will be reporting on the commission’s report tomorrow.

Swedish vocabulary: ansvar – responsibility

Damages to apartment building stairwell in Malmö after explosion

The stairwell of an apartment building in the Rosengård area of Malmö has suffered extensive damage after an explosion. The entrance door was crushed in the blast alongside multiple window panes.

A large area has been closed off and emergency services arrived at the site early this morning.

Three people were trapped in an elevator at the time of the explosion, but appear to have been rescued unharmed, SVT reports.

This is the third explosion in Malmö in a week. There was an explosion on Wednesday morning outside an apartment building in the area of Gröndal, and another on Friday last week, also in Rosengård.

Another bomb was identfied in the area of Limhamn on Friday evening, but it did not detonate.

Police are investigating whether there is any connection between the bombings.

“We don’t currently have any suspects, and we cannot say whether there is any connection to earlier explosions,” police spokesperson Patric Fors told SVT in Skåne.

Swedish vocabulary: sprängning – explosion, detonation

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Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Nato, Nato, and more Nato: Find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Sweden’s defence minister: Nato decision to be taken today

Sweden’s government will meet later on Monday to take the historical decision to join Nato, the country’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist, has told state broadcaster SVT. 

“I can’t say exactly when the application will be sent in, but the decision is going to be taken today,” he said. 

Turkey have voiced their opposition to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance.

Hultqvist said that Sweden was sending a group of civil servants to discuss Turkey’s objections to Swedish Nato membership — something Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday would not prevent Sweden joining the alliance. 

“We are going to a send a group of civil servants who are going to carry out a discussion and have a dialogue with Turkey, so then we’ll see how the issue can be solved and what the discussion is actually about. But the signals we’ve had from Nato are that there’s unanimity that both Sweden and Finland should join.” 

Swedish Vocab: avgör – to decide 

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party backs Nato bid

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party on Sunday said it was in favour of joining Nato, reversing its decades-long opposition and paving the way for the country to submit a membership application.

The turnaround comes amid soaring political and public support in Sweden for joining the Western military alliance after Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine.

The issue has divided Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats, with some party members expressing concern that the decision was being rushed through.

The party said on Sunday that if Sweden’s application were approved, it would work to express “unilateral reservations against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory.”

Swedish vocab: att vara orolig – to be worried/concerned

Finland confirms it will apply to join Nato as Sweden set to follow

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö confirmed on Sunday that his country would apply for Nato membership as Sweden’s ruling party was to hold a decisive meeting that could pave the way for a joint application.

The announcement came after Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday they both favoured Nato membership, in a major policy shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Today, we, the president and the government’s foreign policy committee, have together decided that Finland … will apply for Nato membership,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Helsinki on Sunday.

“I have great feelings, of course, this is an historic day. It started in the morning when I visited the memorial service to honour Finland’s fallen heroes”, Niinistö told reporters.

Niinistö said that the decision will secure Finland’s security policy and that it “does not disadvantage anyone”.

Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde said the decision would have “great significance” for Sweden.

Swedish vocab: betydelse – significance 

US in support of Sweden and Finland joining Nato

The State Department’s top diplomat for Europe, Karen Donfried, and President Joe Biden have reiterated US support for Sweden and Finland joining Nato, ahead of a meeting between Alliance foreign ministers in Berlin on Saturday.

In a phone call on Friday morning with Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, US President Joe Biden reiterated support for Nato’s open-door policy, the White House said. He had also stressed that Sweden and Finland had the right to decide their own future.

Donfried said on Friday: “The United States would support Finland or Sweden joining Nato should they choose to do so.” A formal membership application by the two countries would be “further evidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic miscalculation,” she said.

Finland and Sweden are “valued Nato partners” and “thriving democracies,” Donfried said. Referring to remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the top diplomat said Turkey’s position must now be clarified. 

Swedish vocab: att stödja – to support