Sweden will break its doctrine of not sending arms to countries engaged in an active conflict, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced Sunday, as the country will send anti-tank launchers, helmets body armor and military aid to Ukraine. The country’s prime minister underlined that the decision to send this kind of military aid is the first time Sweden has sent weapons to a country in an armed conflict since the Soviet Union invaded Finland in 1939. The Winter War also known as First Soviet-Finnish War, was a war between the Soviet Union (USSR) and Finland.
It began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II; the war ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. Sweden did not become actively involved in the conflict but did indirectly support Finland. The Swedish Volunteer Corps provided 9,640 officers and men. The Swedish Voluntary Air Force also provided 25 aircraft that destroyed twelve Soviet aircraft while only losing six planes with only two to actual enemy action and four to accidents. Sweden also provided a portion of the weapons and equipment used by the Finns throughout the war.
Finland also announced Sunday that it is considering whether to send weapons to Ukraine directly. In what would be a departure from its long-standing policy of not allowing weapons to be exported to war zones, Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said. The minister also said that Finland, which is not a NATO member and shares a long border with Russia, had given the green light to Estonia to send previously Finnish-owned field guns to Ukraine.Finland will send defense equipment to Ukraine, including 2,000 bulletproof vests, 2,000 helmets, 100 stretchers and equipment for two emergency medical care stations, a government statement said.
Swedish media reported that Ukraine had specifically requested the Robot-57 anti-tank system also known as the NLAW and AT-4 disposable anti-tank launcher. The NLAW, is a joint British and Swedish short-range fire-and-forget anti-tank missile system. Designed for use by infantry, the NLAW is shoulder fired and disposable, firing once before being disposed of. The AT4 is a Swedish 84 mm (3.31 in) unguided, man-portable, single-shot, disposable, recoilless smoothbore anti-tank weapon built by Saab Bofors Dynamics (previously Bofors Anti-Armour Systems). The AT4 requires little training and is quite simple to use, making it suitable for general issue.