Since the full-scale war was introduced in February 2022, Russia has attacked Ukrainian infrastructure such as railroads, fuel depots and also civilian targets such as residential buildings, shopping centres and schools.
In late 2022, the attacks on civilian targets intensified and large parts of Ukraine were hit by Russian cruise missiles.
On 17 November 2022, the Swedish government decided to donate air defence systems, including ammunition to Ukraine. A week later, the training started in Sweden.
During a few intense weeks, a number of Ukrainian soldiers were trained on Swedish soil, in the Swedish air defence system Robot 70 (RBS 70). This is a rapidly deployed system with a range and capacity to fight minor targets such as cruise and patrol missiles, as well as aircraft and helicopters.
“In only a few weeks of preparations, we managed to do something that had never been done before. Everyone contributed with their unique competence and strived towards a joint objective; to provide the Ukrainians with unique training. They came directly from the front and were highly motivated to learn new things. The Swedish personnel is very proud to have been a part of this”, says the head of battalion, Jimmy Wilhelmsson.
The arrival of the Swedish air defence system in Ukraine aired on Swedish TV in the news programme Aktuellt on 15 May, but footage showing the system has also been posted on social media by the Ukrainian army. The system allegedly shot down a Russian Ka-52 helicopter as well as cruise missiles.
“The fact that our materiel and training make a difference indicates the quality found in the Swedish Armed Forces. Also the fact that operations security (OPSEC) has been maintained despite the large number of participants involved, is proof of the professionalism of the Swedish Armed Forces”, says Jimmy Wilhelmsson.