In an act of timely historical symbolism, the Prime Minister of Sweden has presented President Volodymyr Zelensky with a letter from King Charles XII, in which he recognizes the independence of Ukraine.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson during her visit to Kyiv on July 4 handed over a letter from the king dated 1711, explaining Sweden’s position towards Ukraine.
This letter is of considerable historical importance for Ukraine, because in it Charles XII recognized the independence of not only Zaporizhian Sich, but the whole of Ukraine.
It was written at a critical time for both Sweden and Ukraine and the historical context should be recalled.
On July 8, 1709, the epoch-making Battle of Poltava took place, in which the Muscovite army of Peter I deeated the combined forces of Charlesl XII and Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa.
After the victory of the king, Charles XII and Mazepa found refuge in Bendery, which was then under the control of the Ottoman Empire.
After the death of Mazepa at the end of 1709, Pylyp Orlyk was elected Hetman of Ukraine.
As early as April 5, 1710, Orlyk concluded an agreement with the Cossack leaders and the Zaporizhian Army Cossacks, known as the Bendery Constitution or the Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk. This document was approved by the Swedish king as protector of Ukraine.
In 1711, a battle near the Pruth River took place, in which the army of Peter I lost to the Ottamans. After that, on September 14, 1711, Charles XII wrote a letter to the Extraordinary Envoy of Sweden in Constantinople, Thomas Funck, asking him to protect the interests of free Ukraine during negotiations with the sultan. The task of the envoy and the sultan was to force Peter I to recognize the independence of Ukraine.
The fifth paragraph of the latter states:
“At the same time, he must insist that this article, which affirms the freedom of Ukraine and all Zaporizhians, immediately and completely becomes effective, so that all Ukraine and the Zaporizhian Army could fully receive their long-standing freedoms and liberties, as well as get ownership of the land in its ancient borders under the leadership of incumbent Hetman Pylyp Orlyk; so that this nation could immediately obtain the status of an independent state, and never again be under the obedience of the tsar or his protection.”
Andersson emphasized that this letter fits well into today’s political context.
“I brought you a special gift… I think it fits well into the current political context. At the beginning of the 18th century, our king was impressed by Cossacks, Cossack democracy,” Andersson stressed.
Zelensky, for his part, read a fragment of the letter and noted that such a gift is an important signal and symbol for Ukraine.
Andersson also strongly condemned the brutal and senseless aggression of the Kremlin, including the killing of civilians and large-scale destruction. She also stated that new sanctions against the Russian Federation and increased support for Kyiv are the best tools for ending the war waged by Russia against Ukraine.
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