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UKRAINE

KEY POINTS: How has Sweden responded to Putin’s war in Ukraine so far?

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, Swedish businesses and cities, alongside the Swedish government, have responded with a range of sanctions on Russia. See the key points here.

Volvo Trucks has suspended production of trucks at its factory in Russia.
Volvo Trucks has suspended production of trucks at its factory in Russia. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Businesses:

  • February 28th: Scania vehicle manufacturers announce that they paused delivery of vehicles and reserve parts to Russia “last week”
  • February 28th: Volvo truck makers (a separate entity from Volvo cars) halt production at its Russian factory and stop sales in Russia
  • February 28th: Volvo cars stop all sales of new cars in Russia
  • February 28th: Ericsson suspend deliveries to Russia
  • March 2nd: H&M announce that it is halting sales in Russia
  • March 2nd: Spotify announce that it is closing its Russian office and removing Russian state-sponsored content from its platform
  • March 3rd: IKEA suspend activities in Russia and Belarus
  • April 11th: Ericsson suspends all operations in Russia indefinitely

Cities:

  • February 27th: Kalmar municipality, southern Sweden, pauses partnership with twin city Kaliningrad, Russian exclave
  • February 28th: Borgholm municipality on the Swedish island of Öland pauses twin city agreement with Zelenogradsk, also situated in Kaliningrad
  • March 1st: Karlskoga municipality, central Sweden, end twin city agreement with the Russian city of Ivangorod
  • March 3rd: city of Malmö ends anti-HIV/AIDS collaboration with Kaliningrad
  • A number of other municipalities such as Lycksele in northern Sweden and Norrtälje north of Stockholm have also ended their collaborations with Russian cities

Universities:

At a press conference on March 2nd held alongside the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF) and the Swedish Research Council, Education Minister Anna Ekström called for Swedish universities and higher education institutions to break all contact and collaboration with state-run institutions in Russia and Belarus.

“We should not have research and education collaborations which support the Russian administration,” Ekström said. She did, however, underline that individual Russian researchers should not be equated with the Russian state.

“In many education and research collaborations, there are individual contacts between researchers in Sweden, Russia and Belarus. Many in Russia and Belarus openly criticise the Russian administration’s actions, putting their lives in danger. Therefore, it is important that Russian and Belarusian researchers are not automatically equated with state institutions,” she said.

Government support:

  • March 1st: The government agrees to send 100 million kronor to Ukraine
  • February 28th: The government agrees to send military supplies to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons and protective supplies
  • March 1st: The government agrees to send a further 500 million kronor to Ukraine
  • March 2nd: The government agrees to send medical supplies to Ukraine including face masks, ventilators, hand sanitiser and IV drips
  • March 23rd: Sweden decides to send a further consignment of anti-tank weapons and mine-clearing devices to Ukraine

Member comments

  1. As many Volvos are now made I believe in China, are these being stopped from sale to Russia too?

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UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

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