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SWEDEN AND UKRAINE

Sweden to send air defence system and ammunition to Ukraine

Sweden said on Wednesday it would provide Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid worth more than $350 million to help it cope with the upcoming winter.

Sweden to send air defence system and ammunition to Ukraine
The Swedish Armed Forces display the 103 (LvS103) Patriot at a press event in Nyhamnen in Malmö for National Total Defence Day in June. Sweden has not said which air defence system it is sending to Ukraine. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stockholm will contribute military aid worth three billion kronor ($286 million) plus additional humanitarian aid of 720 million kronor ($69 million), the government said.

The military aid will include an air defence system and ammunition, but the government would not disclose which system or the value due to “operational secrecy”.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said the aid package, Sweden’s ninth to Ukraine since the war began, was its largest so far.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (right), and Defence Minister Pål Jonson announce the aid package alongside Aid and Foreign Trade Minister Johan Forssell. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

The humanitarian package will be channelled through the World Food Programme, World Bank funds and Ukraine Green Recovery Programme, while the military aid also includes winter supplies such as tents and clothing.

Part of the humanitarian aid will also go to Ukraine’s impoverished neighbour Moldova, which has taken in a large number of Ukrainian refugees and has suffered direct consequences of the war, including a halt in electricity supplies from Ukraine.

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MILITARY

Sweden doesn’t rule out sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Sweden does not 'exclude' sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, said Defence Minister Pål Jonsson.

Sweden doesn't rule out sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine

His comments come after Germany gave the greenlight for them to be given to Kyiv.

Following weeks of pressure from Ukraine and other allies, Berlin finally agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks, seen as among the best in the world.

The move opened the way for other European nations that operate Leopards to send tanks from their own fleets to Ukraine, further building up the combined-arms arsenal Kyiv needs to launch counter-offensives.

“I don’t exclude the possibility that we can do that in the future, working with other countries,” Jonson told AFP in an interview.

“We could possibly contribute in various ways. It could be related to logistics, maintenance, training, but also tanks as such.”

Sweden, which has broken with its doctrine of not delivering weapons to a country at war, last week pledged a major package of arms for Ukraine, including modern howitzers and armoured vehicles.

“Right now our focus is on delivering that rather substantial contribution,” Jonson said.

EXPLAINED:

On Wednesday he held talks with senior Nato officials in Brussels with Sweden’s bid to join the Western military alliance facing fresh problems from Turkey.

Ankara on Tuesday postponed accession talks with Sweden and Finland, lashing out at Stockholm over protests that included the burning of the Koran.

The decision further diminished the chances of Turkey ratifying their Nato bids before its May presidential and parliamentary elections.

Jonson insisted that it remained a top priority for the Swedish government to become a member of the alliance “as quickly as possible”.

“We’re respectful that this is of course a decision for Turkey and for its parliament,” he said.

Sweden dropped a long-standing policy of non-alignment last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked fears that the country was outside Nato’s collective security umbrella.

Jonson said Sweden already felt “considerably more secure” after receiving assurances from powers including the United States, Britain and France.

“Of course, being a full member of Nato will provide us with Article Five and the security guarantees, and that’s important of course as well,” he said.

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