Trump gears up for meeting with "competitor" Putin after rocky North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Trump gears up for meeting with

"NATO is much stronger now than it was two days ago", President Trump said.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters.

The crisis meeting came amid reports that Trump threated to pull out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation over defense spending and after he he fired off more North Atlantic Treaty Organisation criticism in a pair of Twitter posts.

"Trump said things plainly as is normal between friends and allies". Trump: "The additional money that they're willing to put up has been really wonderful ... " Two thirds have national plans in place to spend 2% of GDP on defence by 2024. He then stunned allies by telling them to eventually double the figure to a punishing four per cent.

"They actually thanked me for meeting with President Putin", he said.

"Everyone in the room thanked me", he said.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took a more diplomatic approach on the spending row, saying that Trump was having an "impact" while refusing to confirm any increase beyond what was agreed in the statement.

He said that Germany was a "rich country" and demanded Ms Merkel must increase military defence spending "immediately", insisting that the country could "do it immediately tomorrow without any problems". "The president has been consistent that he wants to see people spending more on defence in their countries and we are very pleased that we are doing exactly that".

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As well as Chancellor Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Mr Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when USA taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6% of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills. And on Thursday, he again declined to say Putin - despite the USA intelligence community's unanimous conclusion Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential race - is an enemy.

Trump insisted that he would bring up key subjects including Syria, although he once again failed to rule out recognising Russia's annexation of Crimea.

But just days out from a high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the mercurial United States leader threatened to throw the transatlantic alliance into disarray.

She said that Trump raised the topic of better burden-sharing and more spending by Germany, "as has been discussed for months", and that, "we made clear that we're on the way". "We're supposed to be protecting you from Russian Federation, but why are you paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation for energy?" He said the 29-nation alliance supports the territorial integrity of Georgia, including its sovereignty over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But Trump's Thursday morning tweet, before meetings on Russian aggression and the war in Afghanistan, said allies "must" get to 4 percent.

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

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when US taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills. And it comes just days before Trump sits down with Putin at the conclusion of his closely watched European trip.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic mounted a charm offensive at the summit, presenting Trump with a Croatian soccer jersey as giving him plenty of attention.

"It will be over a relatively short period of years", Trump said. "We committed ourselves to spending a bit more".

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