North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit: Trump urges members urged to double defence spending

Donald Trump says Germany is 'totally controlled by Russia' at Nato summit

He also once again called for other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to "immediately" increase their own defense spending to 2 percent of their national gross domestic product, a target that alliance members had previously agreed to aim to meet by 2024.

Trump asserted earlier Wednesday that Germany is "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" because of a pipeline project.

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

But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on U.S. taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

According to the declaration, all Allies have started to increase the amount they spend on defense in real terms and some two-thirds of Allies have national plans in place to spend 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense by 2024. Because of me, they've raised about $40bn over the past year.

Trump is due to meet Putin on Monday in Helsinki.

Mr Trump is the 12th sitting United States president to make such a trip, and will spend time with the Queen and prime minister before flying to Scotland to spend the weekend at his golf resort. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill that "NATO is indispensable".

Nato's secretary-general said the primary focus should be on all members reaching the current target of 2%.

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"They will be getting between 60 and 70 percent of their energy from Russian Federation and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that is appropriate because I think it's not", the president said.

"Well, I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Mr. Trump said during a breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Ms Merkel shot back that Germany had the right to make its own policy choices, setting up an explosive one-on-one meeting with Mr Trump later in the afternoon.

"I've experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union", she said. "Well they could increase it immediately, tomorrow, and have no problem", Trump said. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", he said. And he has affixed a "witch hunt" label to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential co-ordination between Russian Federation and Trump's Republican presidential campaign.

"We are having a great meeting, we are discussing military expenditure and we are talking about trade".

Merkel, speaking through an interpreter, said the meeting was an "opportunity to have an exchange about economic developments. and also the future of our trade relations".

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.

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