Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Sweden to start a new round of talks with allies on weapons systems that could strengthen the country’s defenses and boost a slow-moving offensive to take back land occupied by Russia.
(Bloomberg) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Sweden to start a new round of talks with allies on weapons systems that could strengthen the country’s defenses and boost a slow-moving offensive to take back land occupied by Russia.
At a press conference at Harpsund, Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson’s country retreat, Zelenskiy said he’ll hold talks on the delivery of fighter jets with more leaders in the coming days.
Zelenskiy didn’t specify which countries he would speak to next. Denmark and the Netherlands, which lead an international coalition to provide F-16 jets to Ukraine, said earlier this week that they’ve received US approval to deliver the planes as soon as pilots have been trained on the aircraft.
Zelenskiy’s comments came hours after a Russian ballistic missile struck the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 100 others.
In his first visit to Sweden since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Zelenskiy also spoke with Kristersson about the Nordic country’s Gripen fighter jet, and the leaders signed a statement of intent to cooperate on production on CV90 combat vehicles. Ukraine’s pilots have started training flights on the Gripens, Zelenskiy said.
Kristersson vowed to continue supporting Ukraine’s efforts to take back territory lost to Russia in the invasion, and to back Kyiv’s rebuilding efforts when hostilities end.
Russia’s war in Ukraine prompted a complete rethink of Swedish security policy, leading it to cast aside decades of military non-alignment and seek membership in NATO. The Nordic country has provided military equipment worth more than 20 billion Swedish kronor ($1.8 billion), including tanks, artillery systems and combat vehicles, to Ukraine.
“In the field of foreign and security policy no task is more important for my government than supporting Ukraine in its fight for freedom and territorial integrity,” Kristersson said at a joint press conference with Zelenskiy. “Ukraine is fighting for us, for all European democracies.”
Sweden’s parliament this week approved the transfer of an additional 3.4 billion kronor (about $310 million) in military aid to Ukraine, including ammunition, spare parts, mine-clearing equipment and vehicles.
Zelenskiy’s visit also included meetings with parliament speaker Andreas Norlén, leaders of Sweden’s parliamentary parties, and the country’s King and Queen.
Ukraine’s leader said the key topics for discussion would include “the development of bilateral cooperation, in particular in the defense industry,” including ways to build up Ukraine’s ground and air defenses.
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