Trump says he would ‘encourage’ Russia to attack NATO members that don’t pay enough – POLITICO

The remarks seem to suggest that Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, might not abide by NATO’s collective-defense clause for members that haven’t paid enough. The White House blasted the comments as endangering security and stability.

“Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged — and it endangers American national security, global stability, and our economy at home,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.

A POLITICO report last month revealed that Trump had told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in 2020 that the U.S. wouldn’t come to Europe’s defense if it was attacked. Trump alleged NATO countries subsequently spent “billions and billions” of dollars on their defenses in the wake of his threat — a claim that has not been substantiated.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Saturday about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s belligerence and its implications for the Continent. “If Putin wins in Ukraine, there is no guarantee that Russian aggression will not spread to other countries,” Stoltenberg warned in an interview with German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag.

“We have to prepare ourselves for a confrontation that could last decades,” Stoltenberg said.

Myah Ward contributed reporting.

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