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Trump Zings NATO, and EU Chief Zings Back

Trump Zings NATO, and EU Chief Zings Back

"Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation", said Trump. "That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany".

Ahead of his trip to Europe, where he will attend NATO's annual summit before heading to the United Kingdom and then flying to Helsinki for a sit-down with Putin, Trump said the meeting with Putin "may be the easiest" on his trip.

Sanders claimed in a statement to press that Trump made the very same ask at convening of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders a year ago.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Trump said, contending the European country gets up to 70 percent of its energy from the Russian pipeline.

Aboard Air Force One: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies of defaulting on their defense spending commitments and indicated they should "reimburse" the United States.

Trump is correct that many North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members are not dedicating at least 2 percent of their GDP toward defense spending.

Responding to a query about Trump's upcoming meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin, the US President deflected in typically combative style. Whereas the United States in actual numbers is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP.

The president also broadcast his view with a presidential tweet ahead of his departure, saying the United States disproportionate contributions to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are "unfair" to the USA taxpayer. The US has been lobbying EU countries to reject the pipeline for years, arguing that it is a threat to the European Union's energy security.

President Trump and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, left, gesture during a heated bilateral breakfast on Wednesday in Brussels.

"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing", Trump said.

"President Trump has a very direct language and message on defence spending, but fundamentally we all agree that we need fair burden sharing", Stoltenberg said on his arrival at the summit. An investigation into Russia's meddling and its links to the Trump campaign is ongoing. "They have to step it up immediately", Trump said.

U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a bilateral meeting during the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018.

"But I have to bring it up because I think it's very unfair to our country, it's very unfair to our taxpayer", he said.

For decades after the end of the Cold War, he said, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries had cut defence budgets as tensions fell - and now needed to increase them at a time when when tensions were rising.

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