Breaking with decades of tradition, Sweden has stepped into war, announcing that it would break its doctrine of not sending arms to countries in active conflict.
Sweden has made an announcement that it will be sending military equipment, including anti-tank launchers, to Ukraine in the midst of Russia’s invasion of the country.
“My conclusion is now that our security is best served by us supporting Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russia,” Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters.
According to Andersson, Sweden will be sending 5,000 model “Pansarskott 86” anti-tank weapons, a single-use anti-tank launcher known internationally as Bofors AT-4, to Ukraine.
She also noted that the decision to send arms, 135,000 field rations, 5,000 helmets and 5,000 pieces of body armor is the first time that Sweden has sent weapons to a country in armed conflict since 1939, when the Soviet Union attacked Finland.
Reports from Swedish media indicate that Ukraine had specifically requested that they be sent the more advanced Robot-57 anti-tank system.
“A weapons system that can strike against tanks and armoured vehicles has been requested and this is such a system,” Sweden’s Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said when asked about the decision.
“In addition this is a system that is easy to operate, doesn’t require training and can be handled by a single soldier,” he added.
At the end of the Cold War, Sweden officially abandoned its stance of neutrality. Despite this decision, it has remained officially “non-aligned” since then, and has stayed out of military alliances. This appears to be the first instance of Sweden breaking with tradition to actively support a country in the midst of a military conflict in decades, which has left the rest of the world shocked.
Sweden is not a member of NATO, but has been a partner to the alliance since the mid-1990s.