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Sweden plans to send Archer artillery system to Ukraine

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Sweden on Thursday pledged to send its Archer artillery system, a modern mobile howitzer requested by Kyiv for months, to Ukraine along with armored vehicles and anti-tank missiles.

Speaking at a press conference, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said his government had agreed on a three-part military support package for Kyiv, including “the first decision on starting deliveries of the artillery system Archer to Ukraine.”

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Sweden, which has broken with its doctrine of not delivering weapons to a country at war, will also send 50 CV-90 armored vehicles and NLAW portable anti-tank missiles, the government said.

“Military support is decisive,” Kristersson said, as “it can change who retakes the initiative this winter” on the front in Ukraine.

The domestically developed Archer artillery system is composed of a fully automated howitzer mounted on an all-terrain vehicle, which allows the gun to be remotely operated by the crew sitting in the armored cab.

Thursday’s decision meant the Swedish Armed Forces would be given the task to “make the preparations to begin delivery of the artillery system Archer to Ukraine.”

Defense Minister Pal Jonson said the government had also asked the armed forces to come back with a recommendation on how many of the Archers currently in storage could be sent.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday urged Western allies to provide Kyiv with more heavy weapons.

The United States, Kyiv’s main backer, is convening a meeting on Friday of around 50 countries -- including all 30 members of the NATO alliance -- at the US-run Ramstein military base in Germany to discuss military aid to Ukraine.

Britain this weekend pledged 14 Challenger 2 tanks, making it the first Western country to supply heavy tanks.

The US has also promised to send its Bradley armored fighting vehicles, while France has offered its highly mobile AMX-10 RCs -- offensive systems long seen as off-limits by hesitant Western nations.

Pressure has also been mounting on Germany from European allies to authorize exports of its Leopard tank, which are used by several armed forces around the world.

Asked whether Sweden would be ready to send some of its Leopard tanks, Jonson told AFP on Monday the country had “no principle opposition against sending tanks to Ukraine” but that would not be part of its next package.

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