Speech by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson concerning Russia’s military attack on Ukraine

Published

Stockholm, 1 March 2022

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Sweden.

There is a war going on in Europe.

At the moment, cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol are being attacked by Russian forces.

With anger, we all learn of the attacks on the people of Ukraine.

We are also filled with admiration for all Ukrainians who are committed to the furious defence of their democracy and freedom.

Russia’s armed attack on Ukraine is unprovoked, illegal and unjustifiable.

The Kremlin claims that Ukraine belongs to a special Russian sphere of influence.

But in today’s Europe there is no room for spheres of interest.

If Russia succeeds in placing Ukraine under its supremacy, it opens up similar demands on other countries.

Russia’s armed attack is more than an attack on Ukraine, it is an attack on every country’s right to decide its own future.

It constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

This is why Sweden, the EU and many other countries are standing behind Ukraine.

The Swedish Government’s actions cover three areas: sanctions against Russia, support to Ukraine and strengthening Sweden.

We in the EU and our partners have responded quickly and decisively with very comprehensive sanctions against Russia and the Russian central government.

These efforts will continue.

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Europe is supporting Ukraine in words and action.

With economic and humanitarian aid. With a place of refuge for Ukrainians fleeing the war.

But also: with support to Ukraine’s legal right to defend its territory.

On Monday, the Swedish Riksdag decided in broad agreement to send support to the Ukrainian armed forces, including defensive weapons.

Sweden has not done anything like this since the Soviet Union attacked Finland in 1939.

Many Swedes see it as self-evident to extend a helping hand to those who are under attack. But I know that there are also those of us who ask what consequences this will have for Sweden. Will it make us a target for Russian retaliation?

I have carefully considered both perspectives. As Prime Minister, my first and foremost question before taking any decision is: what is best for Sweden’s security?

My conclusion is that Swedish security is best served by helping Ukraine to defend itself.

Their defence of their borders is a defence of the borders of all countries and of the protection provided by international law to all the countries of the world.

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The security situation in Sweden’s neighbourhood has been deteriorating for several years. It has now gotten even worse.

We are not under an immediate threat of an armed attack against Sweden. However, the level of threat has increased.

The Swedish people are a target for Russian influence campaigns and disinformation. The aim is to intimidate us, silence us and increase polarisation – within the EU, within Sweden and between people. Swedish interests are also exposed to cyber espionage and cyber attacks.

The Government is working with all the actors involved to maintain and strengthen our ability to resist such attacks.

Over several years, we have also significantly strengthened our country’s total defence in broad political agreement.

It is clear that the pace must now increase. That is why I am announcing that the Government will take the initiative for additional resources to total defence.

Sweden’s defence capabilities need to be strengthened. Rearmament is being brought forward.

Sweden must have a strong defence. A total defence of the Swedish people and for the Swedish people.

We must also prepare ourselves for the consequences of Russia’s war on our daily lives. 

The prices of fuel and electricity are already rising. Other goods can also become more expensive, such as food. Small savers are seeing their pension funds being put under pressure. There is a risk that Swedish jobs and companies will be affected.

The Government and the Swedish public authorities are following developments very closely.

 

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My Government is pursuing a clear line in this situation: sanctions against Russia, support to Ukraine and strengthening Sweden. But each of us must also do our part.

First and foremost: stay informed. Seek information from credible sources. Use your own judgement.

Any person who spreads disinformation risks undermining our common security.

Do not spread information about Sweden’s defence either. Every single piece of information about exercises and movements is a piece in the jigsaw puzzle for foreign actors.

And above all: support each other.

Pay special attention to children and young people. More information reaches them than we adults would like. Then adults must be on hand who listen and explain things.

As so many Swedes have already done, you can also support the people of Ukraine. Donate money or participate in a peaceful manifestation. None of us can do everything, but every single contribution makes a difference.

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And finally.

In recent years, we have been going through a very difficult crisis, the global pandemic.

It has been a painful and testing time. But it has taught us important lessons. One lesson is that when we are faced with tough demands, we are able to come together as a country and as fellow human beings.

Current events have presented us with a new task, and demands that we Swedes come together.

In solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

In defence of democracy and freedom.

For the security of Europe as a whole.

Sweden and the Swedish people will succeed with this.

Thank you for listening.