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United Kingdom welcomes Trump-Putin meeting, says it must address Russian malign activity

12 July 2018

But back in Washington, Trump's handling of the US' NATO allies was not going down well.

Freeland says she has discussed the issue with Ukraine, which opposes the pipeline because of the leverage it would give Russian Federation over European countries.

"Because of me they've raised about $40 billion over the past year".

Rachel Rizzo, who works on Europe and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation issues at the Center for a New American Security, said that while it is positive that allies have reversed years of decreases in defense spending, pegging defense spending to an arbitrary percentage is problematic.

Praising new initiatives to build capacity, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg estimated that as much as 266 billion additional US dollars would be spent by European allies and Canada on defense by 2024.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Trump said in a searing critique over breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. "But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they understood it or they just didn't want to get involved".

The United States and Canada swung sharply on Sunday (10 June) toward a diplomatic and trade crisis as top White House advisers lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a day after US President Trump called him "very dishonest and weak".

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were ever attacked.

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"We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

It didn't take long for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to respond to Trump's comments.

The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of growing unease about the threat from Russian Federation and deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy.

Mr Trump made more conciliatory remarks on Wednesday after he and Mrs Merkel met on the sidelines of the Brussels summit, saying defence spending and trade had been discussed. "That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany".

He also said that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next week would be the "easiest" of the meetings he'll have while he's overseas.

"I don't understand why Germany would be so in favor of supporting that particular supply source instead of diversifying", said Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A U.S. conservative political commentator suggested that perhaps Trump was looking in the direction of the United States, while his counterparts were looking at Europe.

The feud over defense spending looks set to overshadow other business at the two-day summit.