Sweden mulls producing weapons for Ukraine
Sweden could start producing weapons for Ukraine to help counter Russia’s military offensive, but no final decision on the matter has been made, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist revealed on Thursday.
Speaking to Swedish broadcaster SVT, Hultqvist described three main projects aimed at assisting Ukraine, which were raised at an international donor conference in Copenhagen on Thursday, attended by defense ministers from 17 countries.
According to Hultqvist, Western nations are bracing for a long-term conflict in Ukraine, and are ready to help the country with military training, mine clearance, and weapons production. The donor event also saw defense ministers agree to allocate an additional €1.5 billion ($1.54 billion) for military aid to Kiev.
The minister insisted that Ukrainians should be trained to clear mines planted by Russian forces, which is “a big problem.”
Hultqvist also suggested that production lines of weaponry, primarily artillery systems, may be deployed in various countries so they can “manufacture arms and deliver them to Ukraine directly.” The minister noted that Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic have said they’re ready to step in.
“This would mean that our support for Ukraine might become sustainable in the long term. Because the production will serve their needs at all times,” he added.
On the issue of producing weapons for Ukraine, the minister said: “This isn’t something that I would rule out, but it’s too early to say. We are positive about all three directions, but eventually we will see how it all comes together.”
Earlier this month, Sweden said it would dispatch 120 instructors to the UK to provide combat training to Ukrainian civilians. The instructors will “conduct basic military training for Ukrainian citizens, divided into several training courses,” the Nordic nation’s Defense Ministry said, adding that its personnel would be stationed in Britain between August 12 and December 31.
In early July, Sweden pledged to supply Ukraine with additional military support, including anti-tank weapons, small arms, and mine clearance equipment, bringing the total support to 500 million Swedish krona ($49 million). In June, Stockholm also promised to send Kiev semi-automatic Barrett M82 rifles with ammunition, along with Robot 17 anti-ship missiles.
Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against sending weapons to Kiev, saying it only prolongs the conflict and increases the number of casualties.