The war in Ukraine and how it can affect us in Sweden


There is a lot of talk in the news about how Russia's war against Ukraine is also a threat to Sweden. There are also video clips on social media that have made many people worried and afraid that there will be a war in Sweden. On this page you will find answers to questions about the war in Ukraine and how it can affect us in Sweden.

Why does the head of the Swedish Armed Forces say we should prepare for war in Sweden?

The head of the Swedish Armed Forces, ÖB (short for Commander-in-Chief in Swedish), said this during a conference held in Sweden at the beginning of January every year. Many newspapers and TV channels usually report on this conference. ÖB wanted to take the opportunity to say how important it is that all Swedes know what to do in a crisis or war. The reason he said this now is not because Sweden has become more threatened, but because it was a good opportunity to reach out to many people.

So the threat to Sweden has not increased recently?

No, the threat to Sweden has not changed recently. But the war in Ukraine and other conflicts in the world continue to affect Sweden. The Swedish Armed Forces say that the risk of Sweden being attacked with weapons is small. However, there are other ways to harm Sweden, for example through cyber attacks or by spreading false rumors about Sweden so that other countries become angry with Sweden.

The Swedish Armed Forces say that it is important that people in Sweden learn more about Sweden's defense and how they can help in crises and wars.

What is happening in Ukraine?

Russia and Ukraine are neighbors and have a long history of conflict. One is over an area called Crimea, which was taken over by Russia in 2014 against Ukraine's will. Secondly, because Ukraine wants to join NATO. NATO is an alliance of several countries that have promised to defend each other in case of war. Russia is not part of NATO, and they do not want Ukraine to join either. In February 2022, Russia attacked Ukraine with bombers and firearms and since then there has been war between the countries.

How is Sweden helping Ukraine?

Sweden helps Ukraine with emergency aid, weapons and other equipment for their defense, but we do not send soldiers and are not involved in the war. Most of the aid we send to Ukraine is to help people who have been forced to flee or who are otherwise affected by the war.

A map showing Sweden, Russia and Ukraine. Map: MSB

Could there be a war in Sweden?

The Armed Forces and Swedish politicians do not believe that there will be a war in Sweden right now, although it is impossible to say for sure what will happen. The armed forces say that they have a good picture of the situation around Sweden and that they are monitoring the situation around the clock.

Do I need to be afraid?

No, you don't need to be afraid, but we can't control our emotions either. It is not strange to feel scared when scary things happen. If something you hear, see or read scares you, you can always talk to an adult about it. It is important not to keep such worries inside. We need each other, especially when we are scared and worried. That's why it's so good that many people are doing so much right now. That we come together and support each other. So it is good if you can talk to someone close to you about what you are thinking and feeling.

The situation in Ukraine, where the war is ongoing, is of course very serious. Here in Sweden it is still not close to war, and there are many adults working to keep track of what is going on, so that it will continue to be safe in Sweden.

The adults around you are responsible for telling you if there is something very important you need to know, if something serious happens. You do not have to take responsibility for keeping track of all the information yourself.

Is there a risk of Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine?

Threatening to use nuclear weapons is a way of intimidating and trying to get other countries to comply. Nobody knows for sure what Russia will do in the war against Ukraine, but most experts believe that the risk of Russia using nuclear weapons is low. Today, quite a few countries in the world have nuclear weapons, but even so, nuclear weapons have not been used in war for more than 75 years.

Could we in Sweden be harmed by a nuclear attack on Ukraine?

When a nuclear weapon explodes, dangerous radioactive radiation is produced and sometimes it can be carried by the wind far away from the explosion. However, the further away from the explosion, the less radiation there is in the air. Sweden is so far away from Ukraine that the effects here would be quite small. But Swedish experts would still need to measure the radiation so that we know how much it is.

Is everything I see on social media about the war true?

No, not everything on social media is true. Sometimes someone exaggerates, or posts something to get attention. Or to make you think and feel something special.

Do I need to do anything special because of the war?

The best thing you can do right now is to continue living your life as usual.

One thing that is always good to think about is having a supply of water, food and other things at home. This is useful if, for example, there is an extended power cut or other crisis. Even when there is a war in countries far away from Sweden, the shelves in the shops here can be empty, if it is food or other things that Sweden usually buys from those countries.

Everyone, adults and children, is important in society. Even when everything is calm and peaceful everywhere, there are those who need help from others. If you are a member of a scout group, a football club or any other association, you can talk to your leaders about ways to help others. Many associations have already done so during the pandemic.

About this FAQ

The information comes primarily from the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI).

Lilla Krisinfo has written the questions and answers together with BRIS (Children's Rights in Society).