Donald Trump says Germany is 'totally controlled by Russia' at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2018

Trump, meeting reporters with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, before a NATO summit in Brussels, said it was "very inappropriate" that the United States was paying for European defense against Russian Federation while Germany, the biggest European economy, was supporting gas deals with Moscow.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Stoltenberg thanked Trump for his leadership in pushing member states toward the goal of spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense, while the US spends closer to 3.5 percent.

Mr Trump said as he arrived at the breakfast that the situation was "not fair to the taxpayers of the United States but we will make it fair". "Other presidents never did anything about it because i don't think they understood it, or they just didn't want to get involved", Trump suggested, warning he would take a very different approach.

In a heated meeting in Brussels with the leaders of NATO, Trump claimed that Moscow now basically controls Berlin due to their dependence on it for energy.

The U.S., meanwhile, is "paying a lot of money" to protect France, Germany and the rest of Europe, Trump added.

The US president bit back on Twitter, writing: "NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS".

Mr Trump has linked the issue of United States military spending to the EU's trade surplus with the U.S., complaining that the bloc "makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe" and then "want us to happily defend them through Nato".

Despite that, USA officials told Reuters news agency the president was expected to reaffirm U.S. support for Article 5 of the Nato treaty, which states that an attack against one ally is considered an attack on all members.

"European troops have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan; 870 courageous men and women sacrificed their lives, including 40 soldiers from my homeland, Poland", said Mr. Tusk.

But many diplomats fear Trump's anger over defense spending will overshadow the summit.

"We've received some indications from the White House that Trump could ask for a review in the next few months".

Trump says that his meeting with Putin will be the easiest meeting of his European tour. "He may be the only one, but that's OK with me", he said.

Trump is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16, following the conclusion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting and a trip to Britain. And President Trump's told reporters that in the end he thinks everything will fine.

"It's also because of your leadership, because your clear message", Stoltenberg responded.

Stoltenberg said alliance leaders on July 12 will meet with the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine "to address regional challenges" and to "discuss their defense reforms and NATO's continuing support".

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcConnell to meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick Tuesday Kavanaugh offers lengthy judicial record ahead of bitter confirmation fight Hundreds protest Kavanaugh's nomination outside Supreme Court MORE's concerns also reportedly stem from the 17-year-long war's massive cost, which has topped more than $1 trillion.

Stoltenberg said he expected a "open and frank" debate about defence spending at the summit but tried to play down the differences opening up between allies.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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