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By John Helmer, Moscow

In a month it will be three hundred and fourteen years precisely since the Swedes lost their king, their generals, their soldiers, and their empire when Tsar Peter the Great and the Russian army defeated them at the Battle of Poltava (lead image). That battle of July 8, 1709, is the greatest disaster in Swedish military history; it is the bitterest grudge they hold against Russia, still.   

The Swedes were obliged to accept their inferiority and become a minor power in Europe. Their  strategic calculation ever since has been to conserve their resources by keeping to the winning side in Europe, while hoping to revenge themselves on the Kremlin. At Poltava, in eastern Ukraine, they still hope if,  with Swedish money, arms, and men, the regime in Kiev can manage it.

Over the past week the Swedish Air Force has taken its Saab-made JAS39 Gripen  fighter-bombers to the air, alongside other NATO forces and the USS Gerald Ford in what they are calling Operation Arctic Challenge 23. At the same time, the Swedish Defense Minister Pål  Jonsson, has admitted that he is discussing with Kiev supplying the Gripen for attacking Russian forces over the Ukrainian battlefield. “Yesterday [February 14], I had the opportunity to discuss this with the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Reznikov….We are significantly increasing our support for Ukraine”.  “President Zelensky also asked for it.”

Jonsson didn’t admit that the Swedes are discussing with the US, NATO, and the Czech Republic a form of disguising the battlefield deployment of the Gripen through third countries and through NATO’s Air Defender 23 exercise, which begins on June 12.

Listen to the new War of the Worlds broadcast for a briefing on the latest battlefield developments, followed by a discussion with Marcello Ferrada de Noli, a professor of psychiatry and philosophy who has lived and taught in Sweden for many years.

Left: for the playback link, click.  Right:  Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli. Read  his latest publications on Sweden’s NATO move and this -- and on the European war strategy here.   Follow his commentary here.  

On May 30 Putin introduced General Patience and the Russian strategy of  standoff targeting without the commitment of Russian ground forces or manned aircraft to a conventional offensive across the Dnieper River. “Russia was forced to respond to the war the Ukrainian regime unleashed in Donbass,” Putin said.   “We all had to respond by launching the special military operation. We are striking at the territory of Ukraine, but with long-range precision weapons, at military infrastructure facilities only, either at ammunition or fuel and lubricants warehouses used for combat operations. We have talked about the possibility of striking at decision-making centres. Of course, the headquarters of Ukrainian military intelligence is one of them, and a strike at this target was carried out two or three days ago. In response, the Kiev regime has chosen a different path – attempts to intimidate Russian citizens with strikes at residential buildings. This is an obvious terrorist approach.”  

Read more analysis of what happens next for Odessa, Nikolaev  and Kharkov.

Boris Rozhin’s (“Colonel Cassad”) analysis of the Russian method of operation in striking the  GUR,  the Ukrainian military intelligence  agency,  can be read here.  

In  a US interpretation of the operation, published on June 1,  it is claimed that “the building appears damaged ‘from below’ rather than above, and does coincide with a huge ground-rumbling earthquake which was said to have come from some underground explosion. Rumors of NATO generals being ferried now abound, though I take those as low confidence… Now, of course, there are the obligatory rumors that GUR head Budanov is missing and some claiming he was killed in the strike. Just recently coming off from the Zaluzhny debacle, I remain skeptical. But it’s definitely possible and we’ll just have to wait for any further information and see. After all, aspiring Bond-villain Budanov is a camera whore that loves making idle threats and zinging Russians so it is very odd that he’s suddenly so quiet. Recall, that after the previous round of strikes, the righteously indignant Budanov immediately recorded a threatening video, which I posted last time, where he told Russia that something is coming ‘soon’ for them. One would think that after a hit completely burns out his HQ he would at least make some kind of retort, no?”

Left:  the GUR headquarters building after the Russian strike. Right, GUR chief, Kirill Budanov.

To follow the Swedish hankering for imperial revenge on the Russians, start here.  

For the recent polling of Swedish public opinion on the war in the Ukraine, read this piece from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  In the Ipsos opinion surveys reported from mid-2022, the Swedes rank far ahead of other west European countries in the attention they are paying to the war; in the risks to their country they see from the war; and in their support for supplying weapons to Kiev.   

Follow the upward (red) line of voter support for the current Swedish coalition government’s anti-Russian line. According to de Noli, Swedish support for NATO has been dictated by the political and corporate elites, backed by the mainstream media,  without a genuine referdendum test of public opinion. There are almost no alternative media, he adds.

Source: https://www.politico.eu/
A  summary of the 2022 election can be read here. At the current 37% level of voter support recorded on May 21, the Social Democrats have gained 4 percentage points on last year’s election level.

For additional background on Swedish government discussions to provide the Ukraine with battlefield weapons like the CV90 infantry fighting vehicles and the MBT LAW anti-tank missiles, as well as the JAS39 Gripen aircraft, click to read.  

In this US Defense News videoclip, produced this week,  it is revealed that Ukrainian pilots are already training on the Gripen, and that NATO staff consider the Swedish fighter has many advantages over the US F-16, including its cost, ease of pilot training,  and capability to land and take off from Ukrainian roads, after the regular airfields have been destroyed.  

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