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Speaking after the G7 summit in Bavaria, Mr Johnson told German broadcaster ZDF: “If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would’ve embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has.

“If you want a perfect example of toxic masculinity, it’s what he’s doing in Ukraine”.

He added, “you need more women in positions of power”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace followed up the comments in a later interview with LBC by saying Putin had “small man syndrome”.

He said: “Well I certainly think President Putin’s view of himself and the world is a small man syndrome, macho view.”

He added “you rarely hear the phrase small woman syndrome, you always hear small man syndrome”.

In his interview, Mr Johnson said all G7 leaders wanted the war to end but that there was “no deal available”.

“Putin isn’t making an offer of a deal, (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky can’t make an offer of a deal,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the West must support Kyiv in its military strategy to help change the dynamic of the conflict, and to get Mr Zelensky “in the best possible position to talk if and when talks eventually come”.

The comments came as Nato formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance on Wednesday.

Nato’s 30 allies took the decision at their summit in Madrid and also agreed to formally treat Russia as the “most significant and direct threat to the allies’ security”, according to a summit statement.

“Today, we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of Nato,” Nato leaders said in a declaration.

Once the decision is ratified, which could take up to a year, Finland and Sweden would be covered by the Nato’s collective defence clause, in which an attack on any member country is treated as an attack on all.

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