North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit: Energy deal makes Germany a Russian captive, says Donald Trump

Trump Presses NATO on Defense Spending Ahead of Summit

Trump Presses NATO on Defense Spending Ahead of Summit

Mr. Stoltenberg said European Allies and Canada are expected to spend an extra $266 billion on defence between now and 2024.

The dramatic exchange came during a breakfast gathering with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that opened the alliance's meeting, when Trump said that Germany was "totally controlled by Russia" and "captive to Russia" because of its dependence on natural gas and deals with Moscow like the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Trump is to meet Putin in Helsinki next week in a summit that has generated much unease.

Trump's negative feelings towards North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and accusations that they don't pay their fair share go all the way back to 2016 and the presidential election.

Before he left Andrews Air Force Base, President Trump reiterated his demand for the U.S. to pay less and other members of the Western military alliance to pay more, and he linked the issue to the EU's trade surplus with the US.

The United Kingdom, with its eye on Brexit, is most likely to side with Mr. Trump, said Michael C. Desch, director of the Notre Dame International Security Center.

Trump says that his meeting with Putin will be the easiest meeting of his European tour.

The summit closes on July 12 with a meeting by countries involved in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. "I think that's very inappropriate".

Trump meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16 the final stop of his European trip. "Germany is totally controlled by Russian Federation", he argued.

President Trump will be in Europe this week to meet with world leaders - allies and adversaries alike - to discuss pivotal agenda items for American, NATO, and global stability interests.

And while she noted the "emphasis on burden-sharing", Hutchison focused on the fact that "every one of our allies - 100% - are increasing defense spending" and noted that U.S. allies are "on track to make the 2% pledge" regarding defense spending as a proportion of GDP.

In what was supposed to be a brief photo op ahead of a bilateral breakfast meeting, Trump appeared to catch the secretary-general off guard, launching into the broadside as cameras clicked away and Stoltenberg struggled to get a word in.

However new figures published Tuesday will do little to satisfy Trump's demands - they show that only seven European NATO countries will reach the two percent target in 2018.

Though the insult will hardly engender warmth from German chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump is due to meet later today, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen seemed relatively unperturbed.

The U.S. has opposed the project because of its political implications, but work has begun regardless. Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro went as far as telling a US talk show that there was "a special place in hell" for Trudeau - a remark he later walked back.

Trump said: "We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries".

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

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday in a message to Trump that "it is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem".

"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing", he added.

The 1.5 percent level forecast for NATO's European members in 2018 compares to 1.46 percent a year ago, 1.44 percent in 2016 and 1.42 percent in 2015.

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