Sweden’s government calls for even tougher sanctions on Russia

Sweden's government has called for the European Union to impose tougher and more far-reaching sanctions on Russia, following the latest round announced on Sunday.

Hans Dahlgren, Sweden's EU minister, makes a call for tougher sanctions against Russia.
Hans Dahlgren, Sweden's EU minister, makes a call for tougher sanctions against Russia. Photo: Lars Schröder/TT

“This reckless invasion which Russia is now carrying out against Ukraine is a new and dark chapter in Europe’s history,” Hans Dahlgren, Sweden’s EU minister, said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

The EU had already put in place historic measures to support Ukraine, he said. 

“But more is needed. This is about more and tougher sanctions against the Russian leadership, but also targeted support measures directly to Ukraine. They need to hit the Russian elite harder and more broadly,”

Sweden, he said, wanted tougher measures against the billionaire oligarchs who give their support to Vladimir Putin, as well as against individuals connected to the Wagner Group, a mercenary organisation connected to the Russian government. 

Dahlgren also called for faster action to end the so-called “golden passports and visas” offered by EU countries such as Malta, which allow wealthy Russians to receive citizenship or visas in exchange for inward investment. It was, he said, “a completely reprehensible business”. 

Russian participation in international organisations should be further limited, he continues, and Russian competitors should be banned from all international sporting competitions. 

Sweden’s government is also pushing for Russia to be investigated for crimes against international law. President Putin, Dahlgren said, was responsible for “enormous human suffering”. 

Swedish speakers can watch the press conference here

Swedish vocabulary: “reckless” – hänsynslös

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Russia expels Swedish diplomats in retaliation for ‘hostile actions’

Moscow on Tuesday said it was expelling three Swedish diplomats after Stockholm expelled three Russian diplomats over the conflict in Ukraine, despite Sweden saying four were dismissed.

Russia expels Swedish diplomats in retaliation for 'hostile actions'

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement it summoned the Swedish ambassador to Russia and “strongly protested” the expulsion of Russian diplomats and Sweden’s “military support to the Kyiv regime”.

It also accused Sweden of “covering up the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists against the civilian population of Donbas and Ukraine,” referring to a region in eastern Ukraine, parts of which are controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

“In response to this, the Russian side decided to declare persona non grata three diplomats of the Swedish embassy in Russia,” the ministry said.

In early April, Sweden said it was expelling three Russian diplomats who conducted “illegal operations”, following similar moves by other EU allies.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde said the action was “very regrettable,” but said that a total of four diplomats had been expelled — three from the embassy in Moscow and another at the Swedish consulate in Saint Petersburg.

In a written response to AFP, Linde stressed that Sweden expelled the Russians because they had conducted operations that “violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” but claimed the Swedish diplomats had conducted “traditional diplomatic activities.”

“Sweden will respond in an appropriate manner to Russia’s unwarranted and disproportionate actions,” Linde said.