Hans Dahlgren: “Tougher sanctions and even greater support are what’s needed now”

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Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren today presented six areas in which Sweden is pushing for the EU to take further decisions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These would entail additional and tougher sanctions against the Russian leadership and increased direct support to Ukraine.

Hans Dahlgren speaks at a press briefing with two swedish flags in the background.
Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren at the press briefing on Tuesday 1 March 2022. Photo: Ninni Andersson/Regeringskansliet.

The Government is working intensively to ensure that the EU takes new measures in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At a press briefing on Tuesday 1 March, Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren presented six areas in which Sweden wants the EU to take joint decisions without delay.

“Europe is in an extraordinary situation that requires extraordinary measures. So far, the EU’s response to Russia’s aggression has been powerful and united. Historic, large-scale sanctions have been imposed and now both financial support and defence materiel are being provided to Ukraine. But even more is needed,” says Mr Dahlgren.

In the EU, Sweden is now pushing for the following six measures:

1.     Tougher and broader sanctions against Russia’s top leaders. This would include sanctions targeting even more oligarchs who prop up Putin’s regime, and even more people with ties to the ‘Wagner Group’, a Russian mercenary organisation that commits violations and abuses in conflicts around the world.

2.     The sale of EU passports to Russian citizens must stop. These so-called golden passports enable Russian oligarchs to become citizens of, and gain access to, the European Union from certain Member States.

3.     A joint EU position on excluding all elite athletes from the Russian Federation from all international exchanges.

4.     Long-term support to Ukraine to strengthen the country over time. The Government therefore wants the EU to reprioritise existing funds in the EU budget to increase support to Ukraine.

5.     Isolate Russia further by restricting its participation in international organisations as done, for example, by the Council of Europe. The EU should now move forward and take another look at what can be done to further isolate Russia within international organisations. A similar inventory will also be taken in Sweden.

6.     Initiate investigations into the very serious reports now emerging from Ukraine of widespread violations of international law. The Government will initiate the establishment of an international mechanism to collect facts and investigate alleged crimes so that those responsible can be held accountable.

At the press briefing, Mr Dahlgren emphasised the importance of the EU as Sweden’s most important arena for foreign and security policy cooperation. The scale of sanctions so far adopted by both Sweden and the EU is historic.

“Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine is a new dark chapter in the history of Europe. But the attack on Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the unity of the EU’s 27 Member States against Russian aggression and for solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Now is the time for even tougher sanctions and even greater support,” said Mr Dahlgren.