Trump pushes allies for immediate military spending increase

President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused fellow NATO ally Germany of being beholden to Russia because it buys energy from Moscow in pointed remarks ahead of a summit of the military alliance in Brussels

Following the summit in Brussels, Trump is set to spend three days in the United Kingdom before travelling to Helsinki for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite the friendly rhetoric, U.S. -Russia relations have soured since Trump's presidency.

In 2017, the United States spent 3.1 percent of its GDP on defense, while Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom stand as the only countries which have crossed the two percent threshold.

Despite the harsh criticism of the president, Kerry agreed that United States allies need to increase their defense spending.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Belgium Tuesday for the summit, ahead of meetings later this week with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Britain and Vladimir Putin in Finland.

The most that current Chancellor Angela Merkel will admit is that the project is as much "political" as economic.

And Trump says it's unfair that the U.S.is paying for European defense against Russian Federation while Germany is supporting energy deals with Moscow.

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The NATO alliance consists of 29 countries from North America and Europe, including the USA and Germany, which was originally set up in 1949 to thwart Soviet aggression in Western Europe.

With tensions in the Western alliance running high over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on USA taxpayers, the latest remarks fuelled concerns among allies over the US role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

While on Air Force One en route to Belgium for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, President Trump took to Twitter to attack the alliance, going so far as to suggest he expects member nations that haven't spent enough on defense to reimburse the United States.

Former secretary of state John Kerry blasted President Trump's criticism of Germany in a lengthy statement on Wednesday morning as "strange", "counterproductive", and "disgraceful". "Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions".

The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of growing unease about the threat from Russian Federation and deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy. The United States spends heavily to defend Germany from Russian Federation, he said, while Germany is paying "billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

Trump's White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed the ask to reporters, claiming that it was not a new position for the USA president. "On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent [on defense]... and I think that is inappropriate also", Trump said.

Throughout the day, leaders were peppered with questions about Trump's behavior and whether or not they agreed with his position on Germany.

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