Magdalena Andersson. - File

Sweden’s prime minister Magdalena Andersson has announced that her country will follow Finland in applying to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, potentially ending more than 200 years of military non-alignment.

It follows a debate in Sweden’s parliament on Monday which showed huge support among MPs for the move, after the Swedish Social Democrats broke with their long-standing position that Stockholm must remain non-aligned, leaving just two of the nation’s eight parties opposed.

But it came as Russia’s Vladimir Putin used a Moscow summit to warn that, if NATO began to bolster the military infrastructure of Sweden and Finland, this would “certainly provoke a reaction” from Russia.

“What that [response] will be – we will see what threats are created for us,” Mr Putin said. “Problems are being created for no reason at all. We shall react accordingly.”

Meanwhile, Kyiv claimed troops defending the city of Kharkiv had reached the Russian border in a counter-attack, while the UK Ministry of Defence suggested Mr Putin may have lost a third of the troops he sent to Ukraine.

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