The ex-ambassador: “Hasty to apply to NATO”


Published 22 January 2023 at 09.48

Foreign. Sweden's former ambassador to Russia Sven Hirdman warns that Sweden will become a “front state” in the event of a war between NATO and Russia in northern Europe. Now he tells Swebbtv that he believes the Swedish NATO application was rushed.

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Sven Hirdman has been state secretary to two Swedish defense ministers, head of the then War Materiel Inspection and for ten years, between 1994 and 2004, has been Sweden's ambassador in Moscow.

Today he states that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine was both foolish and criminal. The biggest breach of peace in Europe since World War II, according to Hirdman, and right on par with the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, which cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

But that he himself and most other Western observers until the last did not think that Russia would invade Ukraine, he explains how idiotic the war is.

– Irrational, stupid, villainous. No one could imagine that the Russians would start a war like this, which is against Russia's own interests. Everyone could see that they would have the whole world against them and that the armed forces would not be able to handle it and so on, says Hirdman to Swebbtv.

He assesses that the Russian regime was not prepared for the heavy sanctions from the West and was prepared to conclude a peace settlement with Ukraine early in the conflict. But then the US and Great Britain appeared, and Boris Johnson visited Kyiv to convince the regime not to.

– He went there and said: Don't make a peace deal with the Russians, and we'll give you weapons and money and so on. So nothing came of that.

According to Hirman, it is not strange, from an American interest perspective, that they want a long and bloody war in Ukraine.

– In the United States, many people believe that Russia is the only major and potentially aggressive enemy. So you like to see the Russians get involved in a big and awkward war that they can't handle.

He also notes that Russia lost a lot in the war and suffered several setbacks that show how idiotic the war is. So it is a strategy that has worked from an American perspective.

But as far as Swedish interests are concerned, a war in northern Europe is not something that should be pursued, because then we become a front state against Russia.

According to Sven Hirdman, it was therefore premature for Sweden to apply for NATO membership already in the spring of 2022.

– There were parliamentary elections that year, and an advisory referendum on the issue should have been held then. But they didn't do that. Instead, they were afraid, within the Social Democrats, of receiving criticism from the bourgeois for not having applied already in the election campaign, says Hirdman to Swebbtv.