Donald Trump pushes NATO allies to double their defence spending

Russian Matryoshka dolls depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are on sale in the Ruslania book store in Helsinki on July 9

Russian Matryoshka dolls depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are on sale in the Ruslania book store in Helsinki on July 9

And it is nuts to claim Germany is under Russia's thumb when Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the most outspoken European leader in standing up to Putin.

"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". "The 2 percent figure refers to what each country spends on its defense, as a share of that country's GDP".

"He suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 percent", Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Trump's biggest target for criticism, Germany, predicts that it will be spending 1.5 per cent of GDP on its military budget by 2024.

"These countries have to step it up - not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately", Trump said.

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to increase military spending, accusing Europe of freeloading off the United States and even raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense as required if they were ever attacked.

The United States does pay for approximately 22 percent of a small, commonly-funded budget that concerns civilian and some military expenses, Daalder noted.

(From L) France's President Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras arrive for a working dinner at The Parc du Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark Park in Brussels on July 11, 2018, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit.

"This has gone on for many presidents, but no other president brought it up like I bring it up".

Stoltenberg agreed there should be more done to prompt allies to invest more in their defense. According to NATO's most recent report detailing members' defense expenditures, only five countries now satisfy that threshold: the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Latvia.

He believes that the current "Ukrainian week" will send a powerful message that will be heard in Brussels and beyond - most importantly in Helsinki.

"So we're protecting Germany".

He also claimed on Wednesday that Germany is "captive to Russia" because of a gas pipeline deal between the two countries.

James Goldgeier, a fellow at the council and former dean of the School of International Service at American University, adds a key point: "Whereas previous presidents have complained about lagging spending, they didn't make it their singular obsession".

Former Secretary of State John Kerry condemned President Donald Trump's remarks at the NATO Summit Wednesday morning after the president bashed Germany saying the country is being "controlled" by Russian Federation. "We look forward to the meeting you're going to have with President Putin".

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also took issue with Trump, saying "I don't agree with that".

Trump's remarks on Germany and Russian Federation generated a sharply worded response from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The pipeline is opposed by the United States and some EU members, including European Council President Donald Tusk.

"He should concentrate on his own country before he judges others", added Nicole Urban, 26, echoing a widespread sentiment among Germans.