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

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

Ukrainian refugees in Malmö. Liudmila Mokhovyk (left) was visiting Sweden when Ukraine was invaded. Her son Oleg has travelled from Poland, while Viktoriia Hromiak and Olga Mokhovyk (right) have come to Sweden from Trenopil in Western Ukraine.
Ukrainian refugees in Malmö. Liudmila Mokhovyk (left) was visiting Sweden when Ukraine was invaded. Her son Oleg has travelled from Poland, while Viktoriia Hromiak and Olga Mokhovyk (right) have come to Sweden from Trenopil in Western Ukraine. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

Sweden’s military intelligence service ‘rules out nothing, not even nuclear attack’

The head of Sweden’s military intelligence service, Must, has said that she and her agency view the current security situation as extremely uncertain, with no action by Russia completely ruled out, including a nuclear attack. 

Asked whether Russia’s threat to use its nuclear arsenal should be taken seriously, Lena Hallin told the TT newswire she was not ruling anything out. 

“We are not ruling anything out. The nuclear weapons arsenal is an important part of their [Russia’s] deterrence capability.” 

“We must be ready for several different things. The war in Ukraine has not gone how we believe Putin predicted and we have now seen how it is being escalated,” she said. “What the final goal is, probably Putin only knows, but it probably concerns more than just Ukraine.” 

She said there was an increased risk for “heavy-handed pressure tactics” against Sweden, which might be economic, political, or even military. 

Swedish home guard gets two years of applications in nine days 

In the nine days since Russia attacked Ukraine, Sweden’s home guard has had as many applicants as it normally gets in two years, the Swedish Armed Forces have told the country’s TT newswire. 

Between February 24th and March 3rd, 9,842 people have applied to join up. In recent years, the Home Guard has received on average around 5,000 applications a year. 

Swedish battleship to take part in British-led Baltic military exercise

Sweden’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, will be in Copenhagen on Friday to watch the Swedish corvette HMS Karlstad take part in a military exercise in the Baltic Sea by the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, which brings together Sweden and Denmark, with Finland, the three Baltic states, and The Netherlands. 

Members to boycott Arctic Council over Ukraine invasion 

Seven out of the eight member nations of the Arctic Council, of which Russia holds the rotating chairmanship, said
on Thursday they would not attend meetings following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway and the US said in a joint statement that their “representatives will not travel to Russia for meetings of the Arctic Council,” citing Moscow’s “flagrant violation” of the principles of “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“Additionally, our states are temporarily pausing participation in all meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies”.
They all condemned Russia’s “unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”. The council was set up as an intergovernmental body to deal with issues in the Arctic region.

Sweden summons Russian envoy over airspace violation

Sweden said on Thursday it would summon Russian representatives to its foreign ministry over a Wednesday violation of its airspace by four Russian fighter jets.

“There are established procedures for these type of issues and those include summoning a representative of the violating nation to the foreign ministry,” Klara Hook, press communicator at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, told AFP.

“These procedures will be applied in this case as well,” Hook added, declining to comment on whether the Russian ambassador had already been summoned or not.

While Russian incursions of the Nordic nation’s airspace have happened in the past, Wednesday’s event was treated with increased scrutiny given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ikea joins H&M and Spotify in suspending operations in Russia

Swedish furniture giant Ikea announced on Thursday it would suspend its activities in Russia and Belarus, affecting nearly 15,000 employees, 17 stores and three production sites, in response to the war in Ukraine.

The suspension mainly concerns Russia, where the Swedish group has been present since 2000 and is one of the largest Western employers.

Operations in Belarus would also be halted, though the country hosts only a few suppliers and has no shops, according to Ikea.

Read our story here

EU countries agree to lift visa rules for Ukrainians fleeing war

EU countries have agreed to grant Ukrainians fleeing the war immediate leave to stay in the Bloc without a visa for one year, which can be extended if necessary.

A special meeting of European interior ministers on Thursday agreed to apply a little-used measure known as the Temporary Protection Directive to any Ukrainians who want to come to an EU country.

Sweden has received 1,011 Ukrainian refugees over last week.

Sweden’s Migration Agency has reported that 1,011 Ukrainian citizens have applied for asylum in Sweden over the last seven days, with 359 applying on a single day on Wednesday.

According to the UN’s refugee organisation UNHCR, four million Ukrainian refugees are expected to leave the country in the coming days.

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For members


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

Court rules on Easter rioters, a wolf shot in Skåne, Midsummer drownings, and Nato talks: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Court in Örebro to rule on four involved in Easter riots 

A court in Örebro will rule today on four men accused of throwing stones at police over the Easter weekend, and in some cases also filmed attacks on police and encouraged others to carry out attacks. 

The men are accused of the crime of blåljussabotage, literally “blue light sabotage”, which covers attacks on police officers and their cars and other equipment. 

According to the prosecution, the four men attacked and threatened police, damaged police vehicles, and injured police dogs. The attacks took place during protests against plans by the far-right activist Rasmus Paludan to burn copies of the Koran in the city. 

Swedish vocab: blåljussabotage – damaging police property and materials.

Two men drowned in lakes in Sweden over Midsummer weekend 

Police have reported two separate cases of elderly men drowning over the Midsummer weekend, one in Blekinge in southern Sweden, and the other in Vaxholm, outside Stockholm. 
In Blekinge, a  70-year-old man died after falling into the Halen lake in Olofström, on Sunday evening. He was pulled from the water before the ambulance arrived but was declared dead at 9pm. One of the man’s relatives called the emergency services. 

The man in Vaxholm, who was also described as “elderly”, died after falling overboard from a boat on Sunday afternoon. The man’s body was found by divers at 17.30pm.

Swedish vocab: en drunkningsolycka – a drowning accident 

Wolf shot in southern Sweden after attacking sheep

A wolf was shot on Sunday in Svälov, a municipality between the cities of Lund and Helsingborg in southern Sweden. The animal, one of the wolves spotted recently in the far south of Sweden, had attacked a sheep.

“The farmer fired off a warning shot to discourage further attacks, but that did not help, and so a deadly shot was then fired,” said Tom Espgård, who works on predatory animals for Skåne county. 

The wolf, a female weighing 34kg, was shot according to a paragraph in Sweden’s hunting law which allows livestock owners to shoot predators if they find them attacking their animals. 

Swedish vocab: en tamdjursägare – a livestock owner

Swedish PM: ‘I look forward to meeting Erdogan in Madrid’ 

Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson responded positively to the downbeat assessment of Nato talks with Turkey given by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Saturday. 

“Good call earlier today with President Erdogan of Turkey on Sweden’s Nato application,” Andersson wrote on Twitter. “Agreed on the importance of making progress in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Madrid next week, where I look forward to meeting President Erdogan and other Allied leaders.”

In a thread posted on Twitter, the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey said that Erdogan had told Andersson that Sweden had so far taken “no tangible action” towards making “concrete changes in its attitude towards PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization”. 

The thread also said that Turkey wants several people it sees as connected to these organisations extradited from Sweden. 

Read our story on Erdogan’s comments here

Swedish vocab: utlämnade – extradited