Trudeau Defends Canada's Military Spending Plan To Trump At NATO Summit

Trump Germany held captive by Russia

Urging Europe to Mirror America's Wasteful War Budget, Trump Tells NATO Leaders to Double Spending

President Donald Trump reiterated the USA commitment to NATO Thursday after a contentious meeting in which he said allies agreed to raise defense spending by $33 billion amid his reported threats to withdraw.

In February, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said only about half of the alliance's 29 members are on track to meet the 2024 deadline - which he said would boost spending by $46 billion.

Trump: "They really stepped up their commitment ... stepped it up an additional 33 billion ... "

Other leaders, however, played down the extent to which they went beyond existing commitments to increase contributions to their own defence, as Trump demanded they share more of what he calls an unfair burden on US taxpayers in funding an alliance focused on discouraging pressure from a resurgent Moscow.

However, a formal summit declaration issued by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their "unwavering commitment" to the two percent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to get to four percent.

"We are not going to finance it for them but we will make sure that they are able to get payments and various other things so they can buy - because the United States makes by far the best military equipment in the world: the best jets, the best missiles, the best guns, the best everything".

Trump also singled out Germany and its chancellor Angela Merkel for criticism, a day after saying Berlin had become a "captive of Russia" because of a gas pipeline deal and should be paying more for defense.

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The U.S. President was also asked if he would be prepared to recognise Crimea as part of Russian Federation after it was annexed from Ukraine by Moscow in 2014. "He may deny", Mr. Trump added.

Trump has said next week's meeting with Putin "may be the easiest" part of his European tour.

On Thursday, Trump reiterated his criticism of NATO in a tweet, stating, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation".

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"I think it's fair to say that here in my office the team recognized what was coming and the importance of speaking out on it from my perspective and from the district's perspective", Curtis told Fox 13.

Freeland also went out of her way not to overstate the newfound simpatico with the Trump administration on this one issue, saying Canada has imposed sanctions on Russian Federation "in close collaboration with our European and US allies".

With allies fearing he could strike some sort of deal with Nato's key adversary, Trump said that he saw Putin as a "competitor" but not an "enemy".

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"I let them know that I was extremely unhappy", an ebullient Trump told reporters afterwards.

"We discussed it with Ukraine", Freeland said.

But at the end of the summit, Stoltenberg said the figure was $41 billion, and was contained in a paper published before the summit, which suggests that no new money was going to be committed.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters she's comfortable with the Trump-Putin summit, but that it "depends very much on outcomes".

". It is up to President Trump to hold Putin accountable for his actions during the meeting in Helsinki".

Trump has several times assailed Germany for not spending a large enough proportion of its gross domestic product on defence. "I just want the people to be happy".

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