NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said any attack on the Western military alliance would be met with a united and forceful response, after Donald Trump called on Russia to attack member countries he sees as failing to respect their financial obligations.
Stoltenberg said in a statement: Any suggestion that allies will not defend themselves undermines our entire security, including that of the United States, and places American and European soldiers at increased risk. I hope that whoever wins the presidential election, the United States remains a strong and committed ally in NATO.
He said NATO remained ready and able to defend all its allies.
Trump told a campaign rally in South Carolina on Saturday night that he would encourage Russia to attack any U.S. NATO allies that he said were not paying their fair share.
The White House called the comments appalling and unbalanced.
The former president expressed doubts about helping Ukraine as it defends against Russia's February 2022 invasion as well as the existence of NATO, the alliance of 31 countries that the United States is committed to defending when necessary.
On Saturday, Trump claimed that during an unspecified NATO meeting, he told another head of state that the United States, under his leadership, would not defend any delinquent country.
One of the presidents of a great country stood up and said: Well, sir, if we don't pay and we're attacked by Russia, will you protect us? I said: you didn't pay, are you a delinquent? Trump said, adding: No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever they want. You have to pay. You have to pay your bills.
Polish Defense Minister Wadysaw Kosiniak-Kamysz wrote on X: NATO's motto, one for all, all for one, is a concrete commitment.
He added: “Undermining the credibility of allied countries means weakening NATO as a whole. No election campaign is an excuse to play with the security of the alliance.
European Council President Charles Michel wrote on X that reckless statements about NATO security and solidarity only served the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They bring neither more security nor peace to the world, Michel said. On the contrary, they re-emphasise the need for the EU to urgently develop its strategic autonomy and invest in its defence. And to keep our alliance strong.
European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told French television channel LCI that Trump's comments on NATO members' military spending were not new. We've heard this before. Nothing new under the sun, he said.
Breton added that European leaders understood that the EU must separately increase its own military spending and capabilities and the defense of its sovereignty. We cannot flip a coin on our security every four years based on this or that election, namely the US presidential election, he said.
Breton told LCI that Trump's account of the meeting with NATO leaders was incorrect. There may be a small problem with her memory: it was in fact a female president, not of a country but of the European Union, Breton said, referring to the Commission president European Union, Ursula von der Leyen, and to a conversation she had with Trump in 2020.
Donald Trump says he told his NATO ally to pay more or Russia can do whatever it wants (video)
In London, Peter Ricketts, a member of the House of Lords who previously served as permanent representative to NATO in Brussels, wrote on Sir ! ). Trump seems to think NATO is like a country club: you pay 2% of your GDP to the United States, which then provides defense services. Deeply corrosive to trust among NATO allies.
Jan Lipavsk, Czech Foreign Minister, said: “NATO is currently in the strongest position it has ever been in, both because of the strong transatlantic bond and the tasks of deterrence and defense internal achievements accomplished by the European allies. Facing the greatest threat since the end of World War II, we are increasing our defense budgets and acquiring new capabilities, many of which come from the United States.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates, when asked about Trump's comments, said: Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unbalanced and endangers American national security, stability global and our domestic economy.
The NATO treaty contains a provision that guarantees the mutual defense of member states in the event of attack.
NATO countries agreed in 2014, after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, to end their post-Cold War budget cuts and devote 2% of their GDP to defense by 2024.
In 2022, NATO reported that seven of NATO's current 31 member countries met this obligation, up from three in 2014. Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 led to additional military spending by NATO. some NATO members.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump alarmed his Western allies by warning that the United States, under his leadership, might abandon its NATO treaty commitments and come to the defense of only countries that meet the goal. 2% of the alliance.
In his campaign speeches, Trump has remained skeptical of organizations such as NATO, often lamenting the billions the United States spends on the military alliance whose support has been essential to the country's fight. Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
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