At NATO, Trump lashes Germany for being Russian 'captive'

Trump Presses NATO on Defense Spending Ahead of Summit

Trump Presses NATO on Defense Spending Ahead of Summit

Trump said of Germany: "We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation and yet you make this deal with Russian Federation".

In a startling public outburst against the second biggest economy in the USA -led alliance, Trump told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Germany was wrong to support a new $11-billion Baltic Sea pipeline to import Russian gas while being slow to meet targets for contributing to NATO defense spending meant to protect Europe from Russia.

"So we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries and then numerous of these countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia", Trump said.

The US president has been openly critical of many of NATO's practices, often railing against Washington spending more money on defence than other member states. "This has been going on for decades, for decades and it's disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States and we're gonna make it fair".

"I expect open and frank discussions, and there are disagreements on different issues", he said as he arrived at NATO's gleaming new headquarters for the summit.

His comments come only hours before he's due to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel on the side lines of the summit in Brussels.

US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media as US First Lady Melania Trump, left, listens before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC.

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.

The defense minister agreed with Trump about defense spending. During the campaign, Trump often resorted to the tactic of falsely accusing his opponents of things he had been criticized for doing.

He said the pipeline issue was outside the legal framework of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to deal with, though he recognised there was a relationship between energy and security.

Mr Trump said he had not spoken with Mrs May, adding: "Boris Johnson is a friend of mine".

He even suggested his meeting with Putin on Monday would the "easiest" of his trip in Europe.

Accusing the president of criticising Europe "almost daily", Mr Tusk said the European Union spent more than Russian Federation on defence and as much as China.

Trump complimented Stoltenberg, saying "he's worked very hard on this problem". "I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, is a good thing".

President Donald Trump addresses the audience during a rally at the Four Seasons Arena at Montana ExpoPark, July 5, 2018, in Great Falls, Mont., in support of Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., and GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale.

Mr Tusk also made the point that the USA did not and would not have a better ally than the EU, reminding the president that it was European troops who had fought and died in Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

"Men like him, who look after the interests of their own citizens - we could do with dozens of them in this country", Mr. Salvini said.

It'll mark the second visit to the alliance by Trump, who used his first appearance in May 2017 to try to browbeat fellow leaders into ramping up military spending.

Mrs May said: "Nato is as vital today as it ever has been and our commitment to it remains steadfast".

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