Trump lashes out at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies calling for increase in defence spending

EU NATO sign joint declaration to boost cooperation

He also accused member states of failing to pay their fair share of defense spending and of being in debt to the U.S.

"Everybody's talking about it all over the world, they're saying we're paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation".

Merkel later responded to Trump's remarks, saying Germany, one of the biggest troop contributors to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions, was free of Russian control since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Guardian quotes her as saying, "I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union". Germany has been pursuing a pipeline for years that would carry Russian natural gas underneath the Baltic Sea to central Europe, despite criticism from the USA and other countries.

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. "I hope you have no doubt this is an investment in our security, which can not be said with confidence about Russian & Chinese spending". In April, Trump said on Twitter that the US relationship with Russia is worse than the Cold War after Russian officials blocked a resolution at the U.N. Security Council to condemn chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

But European Council President Donald Tusk hit back with his own message on the social media site, insisting that the United States has no better ally than the EU.

Trump admitted that the issue came up during his meeting with Merkel. Germans wouldn't agree with that. They got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear, they're getting so much of their oil and gas from Russian Federation. The president is also not the first leader to point to the impact of Nord Stream 2 on Europe, echoing complaints from Eastern European allies who note it would cut out transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Trump said in a searing critique over breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Trump and Merkel later held businesslike talks on the sidelines of the summit. He said nations have been increasing their contribution each year, even as they have taken a hit to their own economies by putting in place tough sanctions against Russian Federation for its behaviour in Ukraine. But at the bilateral meeting he exulted: "We have a very, very good relationship with the Chancellor. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions".

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Especially when there are players in the side who know it so well. "He's been an innovator. Manchester City , last year, played the best football.

"They will spend more", he later predicted. Because of me, they've raised about $40bn over the past year.

In remarks later during the summit, however, President Trump increased pressure on allies over burden sharing, calling on allies to double defense spending targets to 4 percent, the White House confirmed.

He said: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"

That's not how the spending works. "Will they reimburse the USA?"

"It's certainly going to be an interesting time with NATO", Trump said Tuesday morning as he headed to Brussels. He also called Brussels a "hell hole" and "a mess". Afterwards he will spend the weekend in Scotland at his gold club, Trump Turnberry, in Ayrshire.

Trump claims the United States is already spending the equivalent of four per cent of its GDP on defense, but experts say the actual figure is 3.57 per cent. Also present was France's President Emmanuel Macron, who tried this year to charm Mr Trump into more harmonious transatlantic relationship, only to see the U.S. president withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and impose tariffs on European goods. "He may be the only one, but that's OK with me".

"If Russia's economy falters, Vladimir Putin is finished", Hannity said. Trump then heads to Helsinki to meet Putin.

Mr Trump dominated the day and is set to stay in the spotlight as he visits the United Kingdom and prepares for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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