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Trump Says Putin May Be Easiest Meeting of European Trip

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Kay Bailey Hutchison and Donald Trump at the NATO Summit

"Very Unfair!" However, the European Union disagrees with Mr. Trump's assessment and his accusations, warning that Washington was undermining the trans-Atlantic alliance.

A continued commitment to increase spending.

"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations", White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

His stance earned him a summit eve rebuke by EU President Donald Tusk who said that Trump should "appreciate" his allies and that the United States didn't have many.

Some comments Trump made on the presidential election campaign trail in 2016 made Ukrainians nervous about a Trump presidency, but such worries have proved premature. "But it is possible that there are consequences, and that is something we're ready for". "They will be getting between 60 and 70 percent of their energy from Russian Federation and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that is appropriate because I think it's not", Trump said, before criticizing Berlin's failure to significantly increase defense spending.

But Trump was also at times enthusiastic and affable, exchanging embraces and handshakes with fellow leaders, posing for photographs in front of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military band and mingling at a summit dinner in a Brussels museum.

Speaking in Brussels, Belgium on the first leg of his European trip, the US president said a flurry of oil and gas deals had given Moscow far too much influence over the continent's largest economy. It's something President Obama even pushed for, complaining about US allies in an interview with The Atlantic: "Free riders aggravate me".

In a recent string of tweets days before heading to a trip to Europe, Trump once again blasted European countries for not upping their defense spending fast enough.

"Remember the word '$33 billion more' they're paying", Trump said in his closing appearance. Charles Schumer of NY. But these countries were too small to tackle the Soviet power and when in 1948, the democratic government of former Czechoslovakia was toppled by the communists, the West European countries sought a joint military defence strategy and it got a positive response from the USA which was wary of the spread of communism in Europe.

"I'll tell NATO: 'You've got to start paying your bills, '" Trump pledged at a rally last week in Montana in which he bemoaned that Americans were "the schmucks that are paying for the whole thing".

"The Europeans are really bracing for the worst", he said.

Funding has averaged at about $1 billion annually and Stoltenberg has said he expected that level to be met. He has unnerved allies that he could damage the pact while potentially embracing Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he will meet next week in Finland.

At NATO, Trump did not specify which countries had committed to what, and it remained unclear whether any had changed their plans.

Trump said he made his anger clear to allies on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump attends a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured) ahead of the NATO summit.

"It's more a concern that the signal coming out of the summit will be disunity".

"Helsinki Calling is not a protest against Trump or Putin", Hussein said.

But in a bid to appease the USA president, they also vow to "submit credible national plans on its implementation". "The stakes are quite high here", he said. "I'm very happy that we in the Federal Republic of Germany live united in freedom, and for that reason we can make sovereign decisions".

James Carafano of the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation said the difference in messaging between Trump and top United States officials is part of a coordinated effort meant to simultaneously pressure the Europeans. Maybe I'll speak to him when I get over there.

Germany is not a prisoner of Russian policy, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday, reacting to U.S. President Donald Trump's accusation that Germany is "totally controlled" by Moscow. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. "You don't have many, after all".

Experts fear the trip could produce a repeat of the dynamics from Trump's last trip overseas, when he admonished Group of Seven allied nations at a summit in Canada before heading to Singapore, where he showered praise on one of America's longest-standing adversaries, North Korea's Kim Jong Un. "You have to do the outright signaling".

"It allows him to make his point that Russian Federation is not isolated, that Russian Federation is a great power, and to some extent can even claim an equal status with the United States, at least in the security field", said Kortunov. All but four countries still fall short of meeting the goal, but it is not a binding legal commitment.

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