Russian troops withdraw from Swedish village in southern Ukraine

Russian troops have now left Gammalsvenskby, the Swedish-speaking town in the Kherson Oblast of Ukraine, according to the Svenskbyborna Association who are active in the area.

Russian troops withdraw from Swedish village in southern Ukraine
Photo: Дзюбак Володимир/Wikimedia Commons

“Finally!” Sofia Hoas, the chair of the Svenskbyborna Association wrote in a Facebook post. “The Russian occupants left Gammalsvenskby yesterday.”

The news is not all good, however, as the Russian occupants destroyed much of the village’s vital infrastructure before they withdrew.

“Before they left they knocked down all the electricity lines around the village and mined everything in the surrounding area,” Hoas said.

“They also said that the village will be destroyed from the other side of the river.”

The Gammalsvenskby village lies on the Dniepr river in Kherson Oblast, with the area on the other side of the river still under Russian control.

“As a leaving present, they destroyed Kungsvägen, as well as the road to Novo Berislav,” Hoas said.

Kungsvägen, literally ‘Kings Road’ was built in 2008 to coincide with the Swedish King and Queen’s visit to the village the same year.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia visit Gammalsvenskby on a state visit to Ukraine in 2008. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT/Scanpix

According to Hoas, the village is now “isolated” with a “large risk” of bombing.

The Svenskbyborna Association, along with Swedish aid organisations Blågula bilen and Operation Aid, are working with locals to provide assistance to the village, which now has no access to electricity, water or internet.

“They don’t have any fuel either to keep their houses warm in the run-up to winter, which is now knocking on the door,” Hoas said. “Evacuation to safer areas might also become relevant, if needed.”

She added that those wishing to provide assistance to the village can donate to the Svenskbyborna Association by sending a plusgiro to 187879-2 or sending money via the Swish service to 123 437 61 41.

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Sweden and UK strike deal to get more artillery to Ukraine

Sweden on Thursday announced a deal to sell its Archer mobile cannon system to the United Kingdom, allowing London to donate its older AS90 artillery system to Ukraine.

Sweden and UK strike deal to get more artillery to Ukraine

The Swedish government said in a statement that the UK would purchase 14 Archer units.

Stockholm announced in January it would also be sending the Archer system directly to Ukraine without specifying an amount, and on Thursday it said it would send eight pieces.

The Swedish-developed Archer system is a fully-automated howitzer mounted on an all-terrain vehicle, which allows the gun to be remotely operated by the crew sitting in the armoured cab.

“Artillery such as the Archer, together with armoured vehicles and tanks, increases Ukraine’s defence capability and enables them to retake territory,” Swedish Defence Minister Pal Jonson said.

Britain said the 14 Archer systems would serve as “an interim replacement for the 32 AS90 artillery systems the UK gifted to the Armed Forces of Ukraine”.

London announced it was sending the AS90 to Ukraine in January. Sweden’s government said it had so far pledged 16.9 billion kronor ($1.6 billion) worth of military support for Ukraine.

In February, Sweden joined a slew of Western nations pledging heavier weapons for Ukraine, by promising “around 10” of its Leopard 2 A5 tanks, as well as the IRIS-T and HAWK anti-air missile systems.