Merkel fires back at Trump, says Germany makes 'independent decisions'

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But those moments were more perfunctory than Stoltenberg's chattier introductions with other leaders, many of whom Stoltenberg was seeing for the first time that day after he had spent part of the morning hosting Trump. But perhaps most important, we will also deliver when it comes to burden-sharing, defence spending. Are we inviting aggression?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to troops as he visits Adazi Military Base in Kadaga, Latvia, on July 10, 2018.

"NATO has not treated us fairly ..." Trump threw the summit into turmoil by demanding not only that allies reach their commitment to increase spending to two percent of GDP "immediately" - instead of by 2024 as previously agreed - but also telling them to eventually double the figure to a punishing four percent.

Just before departing from his week-long trip, Trump said his upcoming meeting with Putin may be the easiest on his agenda.

"So far is hasn't impacted on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that much, I can not guarantee that that will not be the case in the future". They're also anxious about his potential embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin during a summit in Helsinki. "Who would think? Who would think?"

Critics have repeatedly accused Trump of being too close to Putin and not responsive to evidence of meddling by Russian Federation in the last USA presidential election.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg credited Trump with helping to prompt the largest defense buildup in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

Trump also heaped praise on former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who led Britain's "leave" campaign during its 2016 Brexit referendum, and whose resignation this week has triggered a political crisis for Britain's Conservative government.

Trump's verbal attack on Germany came in his first official event in Brussels Wednesday, setting a combative tone for the two-day summit of the alliance in Brussels.

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As of June, only six member countries had met that 2 percent spending goal: the U.K., the United States, Greece, Estonia, Poland and Romania. Cumulative expenditure by Europe and Canada has risen by nearly $90 billion since 2015. "They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before", Trump said, adding that "now we're very happy".

Kiev has counted on US diplomatic and financial support in its standoff with Moscow since the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of Russian-backed separatist fighting in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people despite a notional ceasefire.

"The notion that America First Trump so obviously supports Brexit and one of its populist proponents is bound to give real pause for a lot of people, who are likely to conclude that if it's that great for the USA, then it will be at the expense of the U.K".

USA president Donald Trump launched a forceful public attack on German support for a Baltic Sea gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation on Wednesday, saying Berlin was a "captive to Russia" and criticising its failure to raise defence spending by more. He replied: "Yes. We will make everything possible - if the President wants to do something we will make it possible".

He has already imposed tariffs on European Union steel and aluminium exports and is threatening to do the same on cars. The NATO chief said that the Europeans and Canada are projected to spend around $266 billion more on defense by 2024. "Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!"

Trump has harshly criticized May, Merkel and Trudeau since taking office and opened Wednesday with another broadside against Merkel, asserting that her country is "totally controlled" and "captive" to Russia as he objected to a deal to bring Russian natural gas directly to Germany.

Mr Tusk also made the point that the United States did not and would not have a better ally than the EU, reminding the president that it was European troops who had fought and died in Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

Baltic leaders fearful of any repeat of Russia's annexation of Crimea called for unity as they arrived at the summit, while Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska said his country was "one of the good guys" because he was increasing defense spending.