Trump claims victory in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending dispute

Donald Trump takes the fight to NATO

Donald Trump takes the fight to NATO

"The communique is clear: it reaffirms the commitment to two per cent (of GDP)", said Macron, who was photographed smiling and sharing a hug with Trump yesterday despite recent tensions between the two.

The mood then appeared to calm as the summit went into its second day, set to focus mainly on ending the long war in Afghanistan, with low expectations, showing the extent of European frustration with Trump's "America first" policies among the other 28 members of the alliance.

Speaking at a news conference before leaving Brussels, Trump said he would "of course" raise the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 USA election but continued to strike a friendly tone toward Putin, saying he considered him more a "competitor" than an enemy.

Merkel, facing domestic political opposition to pushing defence spending up from 1.2 percent of GDP, said she explained to Trump how much was already being done.

Over the two days of talks, Trump assailed leaders of the 70-year-old partnership, saying they weren't paying their fair share for defense and complaining that the United States wasn't getting any benefits from the billions of dollars it spends protecting Europe.

Trump had pushed for an increase to 4 percent - about what the United States spends. "Nato is very important but it's helping Europe far more than it's helping us".

Trump said he made his anger clear to allies on Wednesday.

In a series of tweets at the time, Trump said that "throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart".

The U.S. President was also asked if he would be prepared to recognise Crimea as part of Russian Federation after it was annexed from Ukraine by Moscow in 2014. But I would also encourage the president to exercise caution with Russian Federation - which has proven to be a hostile nation to the United States and our Western allies. But he added that the talks had ended on good terms: "Everybody in that room got along and they agreed to pay more and they agreed to pay it more quickly".

Mr Trump said he didn't want Russian Federation to be a threat, while adding that his meeting with Mr Putin next week "may be the easiest on his Europe trip".

French President Emmanuel Macron was more straightforward.

The new German ambassador to the U.S. conveyed some of the simmering unease in her country and beyond during a Wednesday interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, when he asked whether her country thinks Trump would honor Article 5, the alliance commitment to come to a member's aid if they're attacked.

With allies fearing he could strike some sort of deal with Nato's key adversary, Trump said that he saw Putin as a "competitor" but not an "enemy".

"I let them know I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment and now we're very happy and have a very, very powerful, very very strong North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, much stronger than it was two days ago", Trump said in a freewheeling press conference.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters she's comfortable with the Trump-Putin summit, but that it "depends very much on outcomes".

Trump was whisked away to an oasis of warm greetings at a black-tie reception at Blenheim, birthplace of Winston Churchill, the larger-than-life British leader cited by the president as a model of leadership. "All I can do is say "Did you?' and 'Don't do it again" - but he may deny it".