May 29, 2024

Sweden pledges $1.25 bn in military aid to Ukraine

Sweden pledges $1.25 bn in military aid to Ukraine

Sweden on Wednesday pledged military aid of 13.3 billion kronor ($1.25 billion) to Ukraine, as Kyiv struggles with multiple delays of vital Western military support in the third year of war with Russia.

The Scandinavian country, which formally joined NATO in March, will donate a range of military supplies, including ASC 890 surveillance aircraft, Rb 99 medium-range air-to-air missiles and artillery ammunition, and its entire fleet of PBV 302 armoured tracked personnel carriers.

“Sweden is supporting Ukraine with its 16th aid package, its largest to date worth 13.3 billion kronor,” Deputy Prime Minister Ebba Busch told reporters.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the aid package as “critical to Ukraine’s defence and resilience”.

The Swedish assistance “not only saves Ukrainian lives, but it also helps to ensure long-term peace and security in Europe,” he wrote.

Defence Minister Pal Jonson, who also participated in the Swedish press conference via video link, added that the ASC 890 surveillance aircraft would be particularly useful for Ukraine’s air defence, enabling it “to identify incoming cruise missiles and drones and identify targets both on the ground and at sea”.

Stockholm has not excluded sending its Gripen fighter jets to Ukraine, but on Tuesday said it had been asked by the air force coalition for Ukraine to hold off as they prioritise the introduction of US-made F-16s into the Ukrainian air force.

Sweden has in recent days announced both a 650-million-kronor aid package to secure Ukraine’s energy supply, a sector that has been targeted by Russian strikes, and a framework civilian and military aid package of 75 billion kronor over three years, from 2024 to 2026, to support Kyiv “as long as necessary”.

The pledges bring Sweden’s overall aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in 2022 to more than 100 billion kronor, making Kyiv the biggest recipient of Swedish aid.