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

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

About 90 refugees arrived in Karlskrona on the ferry from Gdynia in Poland.
About 90 refugees arrived in Karlskrona on the ferry from Gdynia in Poland. Photo: Stena Line

Swedish municipalities break off ties with Russian sister towns 

The municipalities of Lycksele and Norrtälja have both taken decisions to break off their deals with their Russian sister towns. Lycksele’s municipal council on Monday took a unanimous decision to break its link to Olonets in Russian Karelia.

“With this attack on Ukraine, which I see as an attack on democracy as a whole, which Putin and his government are doing, we have to take a position against the country which is doing this. It’s not OK,” said Roland Sjögren, a municipal commissioner in Lykcsele. 

In total, 16 Swedish municipalities have ties to Russian equivalents, according to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR). Luleå and Piteå have suspended their agreements and Karlskrona is waiting for guidance from Sweden’s foreign ministry.

Ninety Ukrainian refugees arrive by ferry in Karlskrona 

Around 90 refugees from Ukraine arrived in the port of Karlskrona on Tuesday morning on a ferry from the Polish port of Gdynia, Thomas Martinsson, a commissioner for Sweden’s border police, has told Swedish state broadcaster SVT.

Interest in Swedish bomb shelters surges as a result of Ukraine invasion 

According to Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency, the invasion of Ukraine has led to a surge in questions from the public about the country’s 65,000 bomb shelters, which theoretically have enough space for seven million people. 

See our article on bomb shelters here

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 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.”

You can read our story here

Volvo suspends production and sales of cars in Russia

Swedish truck maker Volvo said on Monday it had halted production at its Russian factory and stopped sales in Russia as a result of sanctions and a deteriorating security situation.

Spokesman Claes Eliasson said Volvo had told suppliers on Friday that it would no longer accept deliveries to the factory in Kaluga, some 150 kilometres (93 miles) southwest of Moscow.

“As a consequence the production line was stopped this morning,” Eliasson told AFP. “The reason is in part the sanctions that have come into effect and the general security situation in the region,” he added, saying production would remain halted “until further notice”.

Read the full story here

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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