ua en ru

NATO countries need up to two years to arm Ukraine - Swedish Defense Minister

NATO countries need up to two years to arm Ukraine - Swedish Defense Minister Minister of Defense of Sweden Pal Jonson
Author: Maria Kholina

NATO countries need one to two years to achieve the desired capability to supply Ukraine with large quantities of weapons, according to Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson.

"Russia has been quicker on its feet than the euro-Atlantic community," Jonson said, urging Western allies to double their procurement efforts.

Jonson added that the goal is to secure Ukraine's victory in the war against Russia.

"I expect us to be catching up but I think it will take a year or two until we see the full effect," he said.

Sweden has already doubled its military spending since 2020 and plans to allocate 2.6% of its gross domestic product to defense by 2030. In the short term, this may not be sufficient to counter an adversary that is shifting its economy to a war footing.

Sweden has provided Ukraine with tanks, combat vehicles, artillery systems, ammunition, and other equipment that needs replacement. At the same time, it aims to meet ambitions that include increasing the number of warships and submarines at the Swedish Navy's disposal, as well as significantly enhancing air defense capabilities.

Swedish weapons

The war in Ukraine has highlighted the need for air defense, as Russia has targeted military and civilian infrastructure with drones and missiles.

Sweden has joined Germany's initiative to provide Kyiv with additional Patriot air defense systems. However, Jonson stated that transferring one of Sweden's four batteries would severely impact its own defense.

"There’s certainly things that we can do easier, quicker and with less impact on our own capabilities than the Patriot system. It's a limited resource," Jonson said.

Supplying Ukraine is an urgent task, as Sweden gains additional significance thanks to its defense industry, which punches above its weight.

"There’s no other country of 10 million in the world that has the ability to design and construct fighter aircraft, submarines, artillery systems and infantry fighting vehicles. This is an advantage to us also in our endeavor to support Ukraine," Jonson said.

This sector includes domestic arms manufacturers such as Saab AB, as well as foreign-owned companies like BAE Systems Hägglunds AB, which produces the CV-90 armored combat vehicle, and the Finnish-Norwegian artillery ammunition manufacturer Nammo, which produces the 5-millimeter caliber rounds urgently needed by Ukraine.

Jonson said that the government intends to triple the production of artillery ammunition in the coming years.

"We came from an era where the perception was that we had very little money, but lots of time. Now we have significantly more money, but we have less time because we’re very concerned that Russia will reconstitute itself and pose a military threat to the whole alliancee," Jonson said.

Since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Sweden has provided Ukraine with 15 military aid packages. Notably, on the anniversary of the war's start in February 2024, Sweden delivered a package worth about $70 million, including combat boats, mines, and torpedoes. This package also included artillery ammunition compatible with the Archer system previously sent by Sweden.