Fact check: Trump's half-truths and false statements at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Fact check: Trump's half-truths and false statements at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

NATO, a pillar of the global order, emerged from a two-day confrontation with President Donald Trump on Thursday intact but distracted and shaken, a further challenge to the alliance as it faces an expansionist Russian Federation and growing authoritarianism among some of its own members.

Few had expected smooth sailing at the Brussels summit.

Trump, in a series of tweets from Brussels, said that, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation".

The outdoor arrival ceremony at Blenheim - Trump wore a tuxedo and first lady Melania Trump a butter-yellow, chiffon off-the-shoulder gown - was a grand affair marked by a military band in bearskin hats, hundreds of business leaders in black tie and gorgeous setting sunlight. The Kremlin spokesman said President Donald Trump's anti-Russia comments showed an escalation in the U.S. campaign to talk down Russian gas supplies to Europe.

But hours later, both Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and French President Emmanuel Macron denied they ever promised to do any of that. "And I said, 'Putin may be the easiest of them all.' You never know".

"Based on just the way things are shaping up, I think a non-eventful Helsinki meeting might be best for our country", Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, told Reuters.

Demonstrators protest next to the specially erected fence surrounding the US ambassador's residence, Winfield House, where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are staying in London on July 12.

Trump blazed into the summit yesterday by demanding that allies reach their commitment to increase spending to two per cent of GDP "immediately" - instead of by 2024 as previously agreed.

Trump said there had been "tremendous progress" after his "firm" warnings during the tense two-day meeting in Brussels, during which he singled out Germany for special criticism. "I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the terrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in".

At his press conference, Trump said the USA commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "remains very strong, primarily because of the spirit they have and the amount of money they're willing to spend, the additional money they're putting up".

The Kremlin on Thursday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's description of Germany as a "captive" of Russian Federation due to its energy reliance, saying his statement was part of a U.S. campaign to bully Europe into buying American energy supplies. He said the United States would not finance such purchases but help get them on a payment plan.

"The fact is that we have a commitment to increase defense spending. Not acceptable! All Nato Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!"

Allied NATO defense spending has actually increased on average 3.1 percent since 2014.

After an opening day of summit talks marked by clashes between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO leaders had hoped to focus on policy on Ukraine and Afghanistan. Its citizens are yet to approve the country's new name, on which membership hinges, which they will do via a politically loaded referendum.

Of the 29-member alliance, only the UK, Poland, Estonia and debt-ridden Greece met the benchmark in 2017.

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