Ahead of summit, Trump won't label Putin friend or foe

U.S. President Donald Trump jokes with British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister Theresa May walks past during a working dinner meeting at the NATO headquarters during a NATO summit of heads of stat

European Council president Donald Tusk is appealing to President Donald Trump to remember who his allies are as the US leader prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Member countries contribute part of their wealth towards defense spending - but Trump says that recently, allies aren't paying their fair share. But Trump's claim that the USA pays 90 per cent of NATO's total defense spending isn't corroborated by available data. "This is not fair, nor is it acceptable", Trump tweeted a day before he departs for the summit, which will take place July 11-12 in Brussels.

Tusk urged the Europeans to increase spending as they have promised, but said: "Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have all that many".

While countries closer to Russian Federation, such as Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Poland, significantly boosted defense, most other members took a more relaxed approach, with Germany's defense minister saying in 2015 that she didn't see a need to meet the spending bar, Deutsche Welle reported. "Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all - who would think?" "'And it means a lot more to you than protecting us because I don't know how much protection we get by protecting you'".

Ahead of the meetings, the EU's Donald Tusk warned Trump that he should tone down his anti-European rhetoric, because the United States doesn't have many allies.

He added, "Getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing not a bad thing, so we'll see, we're meeting with Putin on Monday well see how that goes".

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"It will become increasingly hard to justify to American citizens why some countries continue to fail to meet our shared collective security commitments", Trump said in a letter addressed to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg seen by Bloomberg News.

The U.S. has been seeking an increased commitment by alliance members to increase defense spending. Separately, doubts about Trump's commitment to European security have pushed EU leaders to boost defense cooperation.

As we have written before, Trump is conflating NATO's direct and indirect spending to claim that the U.S.

"Getting ready to leave for Europe". A final assumption is that, even absent direct Russian military pressures, the buildup of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military forces is both necessary and sufficient to deter other threats that Russia poses, as in cyber-attacks and interfering in Western politics, societies, and democratic practice in general. In the unimaginable event that such support would be forthcoming, Trump would bring down America's whole economic, social, and national security house of cards.

On July 16, U.S. and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold their first summit together in Helsinki.

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