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Sweden is set to apply for NATO membership, a move that marks the end of the Nordic country’s centuries of military non-alignment.

According to a Reuters report, the Swedish government decided to formally apply to become a Nato member. The move comes after the Russian invasion of Ukraine increased support in Sweden’s parliament for joining Nato.

Following the announcement, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Micael Bydén also supported the move.

He said: “As a Supreme Commander, I am guided by two starting points: Sweden’s military strategic interests, and the best way of contributing to Nato’s deterrence in northern Europe. I know that we are most welcome into the alliance and I also know that Sweden’s membership will make Nato stronger.”

Sweden’s neighbour Finland has also indicated its intention to join Nato. Both the countries are expected to jointly submit their applications soon.

Several Nato member countries, including the US and the UK, have already expressed their support for Sweden and Finland’s Nato membership plans.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “The UK strongly supports applications for Nato membership from Finland and Sweden. They should be integrated into the alliance as soon as possible; their accession will strengthen the collective security of Europe.

“We look forward to working with them as new Nato Allies and stand ready to offer them our every assistance during the accession process.”

The UK also signed mutual security assurances with Sweden and Finland and agreed to offer military support in times of crisis.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the expansion of military infrastructure on Finnish or Swedish territories would warrant a reaction from Moscow.