North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit: EU’s Tusk warns president to appreciate allies

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This is a similar outcome to Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un.

"We are not prisoners, neither of Russian Federation nor of the United States", Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.

The commander-in-chief spoke to reporters before leaving for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels where he suggested Putin's meeting "may be the easiest of them all".

Even in Trump's own administration, no one was echoing the same kind of harsh rhetoric the president used.

Trump's tongue-lashing accelerated during a pre-summit breakfast, when he traded his usual long-distance Twitter attacks for a face-to-face confrontation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

"Our summit comes at a time when some are questioning the strength of the transatlantic bond and I would not be surprised if we have robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending", Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday. The Frenchman is one of Trump's closest friends on the world stage despite their many areas of disagreement, including Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord, and to impose tariffs on France and other European countries.

"Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many". "After all, you don't have that many". So, in a stroke, he shifted attention away from his own ties to the Kremlin just days before he meets one-on-one with Putin.

TRUMP: "Germany is a captive of Russian Federation because they supply (energy)".

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"I do think Russian Federation is trying to flip Turkey; they're trying to flip many of our allies", Hutchison said.

But after 48 hours of overt conflict with allies - and the second worldwide summit in two months where he has sparred openly with European leaders - he said he looked forward to a positive encounter with the Russian president. "This is serious. My task is to try to minimize the negative impact on NATO", Stoltenberg told a forum in the margins of the summit.

He also described the United Kingdom as "in somewhat turmoil", and said Mrs May's future as Prime Minister was "up to the people, not up to me". They're also anxious about his potential embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin during a summit in Helsinki.

"The president was willing to offer concessions to Kim without getting anything specific or concrete in return", said Jeffrey Rathke, deputy director of the Europe Program at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies.

His trip to Europe will also include a meeting in Britain with Prime Minister Theresa May, whose government is in disarray after a pair of key resignations, as well as a weekend of golf in Scotland. May is dealing with the aftermath of departure of some Brexit hardliners from her cabinet because they object to her approach. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy sounded a similar theme.

"Boris Johnson's a friend of mine", Trump said. "They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before", Trump said, adding that "now we're very happy". Because I think 100% that is absolutely what it is. "Germany is a rich country ... they could increase [defence spending] immediately, tomorrow and have no problem", he says. If he wants to point fingers at anyone who's being controlled by Russian Federation, I suggest he goes and practices that in a mirror because that's about the only time that that statement is going to be true when it comes out of his mouth.

Trump is unpopular in Britain, so supporting Johnson could help May, and sow doubt about Britain's decision to part ways with the European Union, he added.

"We received clear assurances from the American side that Ukrainian interests will be confirmed and protected (at the summit)", said a Ukrainian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

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