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Trump, NATO head Stoltenberg have testy exchange at summit

Trump, NATO head Stoltenberg have testy exchange at summit

The EU president said he hoped Trump would remember Europe's strong relationship with the United States as he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in the coming days.

Mr. Tusk also took to Twitter to address President Trump's Twitter criticism directly, "Dear @realDonaldTrump".

As he left for the summit, Trump tweeted to complain again that "the USA is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the USA taxpayer", Trump tweeted earlier in the morning, calling the situation "Very Unfair!"

Trump tweeted strong criticisms of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies just before setting off for the summit as well, saying that the USA was spending "many times more" than other nations for their protection, finishing with an explicit call for US allies to pay more and the United States less.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the U.S.is paying much more than its allies, which he said is not fair to American taxpayers. According to European Union statistics, the EU's trade surplus in 2017 was $140bn (€120bn; £106bn). "We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

"I'm very glad that today we are united in freedom. because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions".

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

"We're being taken advantage of by the European Union", Trump said.

The president has lashed out at countries that fall short. Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russian Federation and as much as China, " Tusk said Tuesday.

"Getting ready to leave for Europe. We lost $151 billion a year ago on trade", the president told reporters.

"Every one of our allies, 100 percent are increasing defense spending and so that is something we will talk about as an achievement but also, we need to do more", Hutchison said, describing the funding as "the biggest increase in defense spending by our allies since the Cold War".

The meeting of Western leaders in Brussels has the potential to turn into another public bust-up following a divisive and bad-tempered summit of G7 nations in Canada in June.

And while US spending in constant dollar terms has risen slightly since 2014, its share of NATO's overall spending has fallen.

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