North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies vow to meet spending targets after Trump criticism

Trump brands Germany a “captive of Russia,” days before he meets Putin

During the meetings, he demanded via tweet that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" and then rattled them further by privately suggesting member nations should spend 4 percent of their gross domestic product on defense - a bigger share than even the United States now pays, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation statistics.

Lawmakers in the USA seemed to break with the president's attacks, issuing their support for the decades-old organization. "They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

Trump will meet the Russian leader in Helsinki on 16 July for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the USA into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

Drawing on her own background, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back sharply, insisting that Germany makes its own decisions. Why are their only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?

Credit for those added billions is being claimed fully by the USA president. Must pay 2 per cent of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.

President Trump publicly criticized Germany over its Baltic Sea gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation, calling the wealthiest nation in the European Union "a captive to Russian Federation".

Despite Trump's claims about Germany, Merkel served as a forceful advocate for imposing - and maintaining - sanctions on Russian Federation after it annexed Crimea in 2014, arguing that it violated the principles of the worldwide order established after World War II. "Enough. This isn't good for the United States and there are people across the aisle - as the Senate vote clearly showed - who know it and need to say it", Kerry wrote. The gas pipeline mirrors the Nord Stream route going through exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of five countries - Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.

In a pointed apparent reference to Mr Trump's upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Tusk noted that European military spending "is an investment in our security, which can not be said with confidence about Russian and Chinese spending". We have a fundamental disagreements on principles and objectives between Trump and the Europeans.

"The alliance is very important and I think there's ways of communicating our displeasure with things without trying to insult and break the alliance apart", said Corker.

The U.S., which spent $685.9 billion on defense in 2017, now makes up 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP.

Mr Trump said: "The US is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them".

The claims stem from criticisms about burden-sharing that Trump has made since just prior to his inauguration in January 2017. Moreover, he displays a woeful ignorance of the work his predecessor's administration did to increase European defense spending.

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