March 4. 2024. 6:14

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Swedish PM in Kyiv discusses support, reconstruction


Support for Ukraine, reconstruction and the country’s EU application process were among the topics Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson discussed with his counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Wednesday.

Kristersson went to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The visit was organised in great secrecy and had not been announced in advance.

“Sweden will continue to provide as much support as possible”, the Swedish prime minister said at a joint press conference, stressing that “It is important to meet in person, on the spot, and see with our own eyes the terrible consequences of Russia’s unjust and provoked aggression”.

As Sweden has so far been at the helm of the six-month rotating EU Council presidency, Kristersson said that Ukraine could count on the EU’s support, announcing that the EU will provide at least €67 billion in military aid.

“Ukraine belongs in the EU,” Kristersson said.

Asked whether Sweden intends to provide Ukraine with Gripen aircraft, Kristersson said it was possible but that it was not currently an option.

“We are not ruling anything out. But at the same time, an international agreement is needed to take further steps”, he commented.

However, according to Kristersson, deliveries of other military equipment are on the way.

These include the Archer artillery system Sweden promised to deliver last month. Kristersson did not want to specify when the deliveries are expected to be completed but declared that they will be delivered “as soon as possible”.

It is believed that both men have also discussed using frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine.

“The principle is clear – Russia should pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. At the same time, everyone knows that these are very difficult issues,” Kristersson said earlier.

On Wednesday, the Swedish government announced the creation of an EU-level l ad hoc group to investigate how billions of dollars in frozen Russian funds, including central bank reserves, can be used for reconstruction work in Ukraine.

The ad hoc group will be headed by the head of Sweden’s National Board of Trade, Anders Ahnlid. Among the frozen assets considered for use will be Russian central bank funds expected to amount to tens of billions of dollars, Ahnlid said.

“The EU has never before used frozen funds for the reconstruction of a war-torn country, so we are in a sense chartering new territory,” Ahnlid nevertheless pointed out.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)