Trump sets combative tone at NATO with attacks on allies

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Kremlin critics at home and overseas see Trump's decision to grant Putin a summit against that backdrop as conferring global legitimacy and status on Putin, something they say he doesn't deserve given the lack of meaningful change in Russia's policies internationally. "I think it is very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia", Trump said. There isn't a penalty for not meeting it, but Trump has repeatedly castigated Germany in particular for not spending enough, in his view, on defense.

"The alliance is very important and I think there's ways of communicating our displeasure with things without trying to insult and break the alliance apart", said Corker. "You tell me, is that appropriate?", he asked, while Stoltenberg listened.

Germany is extremely reliant on Russian gas, and the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea, which Germany approved in March, will only increase its dependence.

"So we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries and then numerous of these countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia", Trump said.

The document reportedly emphasizes the importance of maintaining a dialogue between the Russian and US heads of state, diplomats, militaries, and intelligence agencies, and calls for closer economic ties and more contact between Russians and Americans. At breakfast he had spoken of Germany as a "captive" of Russian Federation because of the two countries' energy relationship, which he labelled "inappropriate".

With tensions in the Western alliance running high over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on USA taxpayers, the latest remarks fuelled concerns among allies over the US role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

"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.

In March, Germany agreed to allow Russia's energy-exporting monopoly Gazprom to build a pipeline through its waters. "How can you be stronger when a country is getting energy from the person you want to protect against?"

Backing up a step, however, it may be premature to write off the German-American or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance as some pundits have already been speculating about, said Jessica Gienow-Hecht, a historian of worldwide relations at Berlin's Free University.

Later Wednesday, Mr. Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the summit.

"These countries have to step it up - not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately", Trump said. Meanwhile, he told reporters on Tuesday that his meeting with Putin "may be the easiest of them all".

Trump's decision to meet Putin was widely regarded as a blow to the prime minister's attempts to isolate Russian Federation following the Salisbury attack in March, even though he had strongly condemned the Kremlin's actions at the time. "We are one of the guarantors of the free world and that will stay that way".

But Trump hit back: "But Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive to Russian Federation because it's getting so much of its energy from Russian Federation".

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