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Swedish alcohol monopoly pulls Russian products from shelves

Sweden's alcohol monopoly has decided to stop selling all vodka and other types of Russian alcohol in protest at the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian vodka brand Stolichnaya on sale in a branch of Systembolaget in Sweden. The vodka on the right is not from Russia.
The Russian vodka brand Stolichnaya on sale in a branch of Systembolaget in Sweden. The vodka on the right is not from Russia. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The decision from Systembolaget, which came only hours after Alko, its Finnish equivalent announced a similar move, will apply with immediate effect. 

“Put simply, this is because of Russia’s invasion and that the attack will mean great suffering for the Ukrainian people,” Ulf Sjödin, the company’s Head of Category Management, told the TT newswire. “I wouldn’t say it was a protest, more just a natural consequence.” 

In a press statement, the company said that it agreed with Sweden’s government that the attack “violates Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”, “will mean great suffering for the Ukrainian people”, and is “a clear crime under international law”. 

Systembolaget has three Russian products on its shelves, and 30 more which can be specially ordered. 

Sjödin said the two Russian vodka brands together made up less than one percent of the company’s sales of spirits. 

He said that the company would resume sales of Russian products if the situation in Ukraine improves. 

Alko said that it had taken the decision for similar reasons, adding that consumer demands for Russian-made products had already dropped following the invasion last Thursday.

READ ALSO: Volvo suspends production and sales of cars in Russia

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BUSINESS

Huawei loses Swedish appeal over 5G ban

A Swedish court on Wednesday rejected an appeal from China's Huawei over the government's decision to ban the network equipment giant from the rollout of 5G mobile network infrastructure in the Nordic country.

Huawei loses Swedish appeal over 5G ban

The administrative court of appeal in Stockholm said in a statement it believed it was fair to assume that the use of Huawei’s products in central functions of the 5G network “can cause harm to Sweden’s security.”

After the UK in the summer of 2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban Huawei from almost all of the network infrastructure needed to run its 5G mobile network.

Beijing warned at the time that the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority’s (PTS) decision could have “consequences” for the Scandinavian country’s companies in China, prompting Swedish telecom giant and Huawei competitor Ericsson to worry about retaliatory measures.

The PTS’ decision also included a provision that equipment already installed had to be removed by January 1, 2025, which the appeals court also confirmed.

“Sweden’s security is a particularly strong interest and the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority’s decision is based on a real, current and sufficiently serious threat to Sweden’s security,” judge Anita Linder said in a statement.

Huawei first appealed the decision to a lower court which also sided with the PTS in June 2021.

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