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SWEDEN AND UKRAINE

Swedish fighter charged in Russian-occupied Donetsk

A Swedish man who fought on the Ukrainian side in the fight for the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol has been charged by the authorities in Russian-occupied Donetsk for fighting as a mercenary. 

Swedish fighter charged in Russian-occupied Donetsk
The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine. Photo: AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov

The charges were reported by the Russian state-controlled news wire Tass, and confirmed by Sweden’s foreign ministry. 

“We have this information about a Swedish citizen who is currently being denied his freedom and we are working to get some clarity about this,” the ministry’s press service told TT. “We are not currently ready to provide any more detailed information than this. 

Pro-Russian authorities occupying Donetsk accuse the man of fighting as a mercenary. Alongside the Swedish man, one Croatian and three Brits are also facing judicial action, which newspaper Expressen was the first to report.

The news agency reported at the beginning of July that the man had been captured. The last Ukrainian defenders ceased fighting in Azovstal around May 20th.

Two Brits and a Moroccan citizen have previously been given the death penalty on the same charges.

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ENERGY

Sweden to issue guarantees worth ‘billions’ to energy groups

Sweden said on Saturday it would provide liquidity guarantees to Nordic and Baltic energy companies worth "billions of dollars" in a bid to prevent a financial crisis sparked by Europe's energy crunch.

Sweden to issue guarantees worth 'billions' to energy groups

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson warned Sweden was facing the prospect of a “war winter”, and said the exact details of the guarantees remained to be worked out.

The announcement came after Russia said on Friday it was cutting off the Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany indefinitely due to what it said were leaks in a turbine.

The closure is expected to lead to even higher production prices for electricity companies when the market opens on Monday.

Speaking to reporters, Andersson said the guarantees were aimed at giving energy groups “the breathing room that is needed”.

She said there was “a clear security policy agenda behind Russia’s actions”.

“Russia’s energy war is having serious consequences for Europe and Swedish households and companies, especially in southern Sweden which is dependent on electricity prices in Germany, which in turn is very dependent on gas,” she said.

“This threatens our financial stability. If we don’t act soon it could lead to serious disruptions in the Nordics and Baltics,” she said. “In the worst-case scenario we could fall into a financial crisis.”

Finance Minister Mikael Damberg, speaking at the same press conference, said the Swedish decision would “secure financial stability not only in Sweden but in the entire Nordic region”.

The guarantees were expected to be in place on Monday before the stock market closing and would cover all Nordic and Baltic actors within the next two weeks.

Sweden’s parliament has been called in from its summer break to hold a vote on the government’s proposal on Monday.

READ MORE: Energy crisis pushes nuclear comeback in Europe

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