UPDATE - Sweden, Ukraine agree on joint production of armored vehicles

UPDATE - Sweden, Ukraine agree on joint production of armored vehicles

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Stockholm

UPDATES WITH REMARKS BY BOTH LEADERS IN PRESS MEETING, CHANGES HEADLINE, DECK, EDITS THROUGHOUT

By Ahmet Gencturk

ATHENS (AA) – Sweden and Ukraine on Saturday agreed on the joint production of Swedish CV 90 combat vehicles in Ukraine, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

Addressing a joint news conference in Stockholm, Kristersson said bilateral cooperation has become "broader and deeper" after Russia's war on Ukraine in February 2022.

Underlining that Sweden provided Ukraine advanced arms systems, including but not limited to Leopard 2 tanks, and Archer self-propelled artillery platforms to defend itself, Kristersson said they agreed to strengthen cooperation on "production, training and servicing" of the CV90s.

"No task is more important for my government than supporting Ukraine in its fight for freedom and territorial integrity. Ukraine is fighting for us. For all European democracies," he added.

Praising the courage and determination of Ukraine in the war against Russia, he said he was convinced that it will bring "Russian aggression" to end and create a new beginning for Ukraine.

Kristersson said Sweden has approved a five-year strategy that provides €520 million to support "reform and reconstruction" in Ukraine.

"The overarching goal of the strategy is to support Ukraine's integration into the EU ... Ukraine belongs to the European family,” he added.

Zelenskyy, for his part, said Ukraine and Sweden discussed further steps to transfer Gripen jets to Ukraine, adding that Ukrainian pilots had already begun training on the planes.

"I am sure that together with our partners we will do everything and achieve the appropriate result in the sky so that the Russians do not have this superiority. When they control the sky, unfortunately, we cannot move quickly on the ground,” he said.

According to Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson, the government was planning a new $313.5 million military support package to Ukraine, Sweden's 13th to Ukraine since the start of the war, taking the total value of the Nordic country's aid to $1.8 billion.

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