Moscow, which denies having any expansionist or aggressive agenda, accuses NATO of trying to destabilize central Europe and has respond by forming four new military divisions to strengthen its western and central regions and stepping up exercises.
GERMANY POLITICS: Ursula von der Leyen Rejects Trump’s Claim It Owes NATO and US ‘Vast Sums’ For Defense
“Defense spending goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into European missions and into our contribution to fight against IS terrorism,” von der Leyen said.
GERMANY POLITICS: Ahead of Talks between Merkel and Trump Germany Wants Change to NATO Two-Percent Budget Goal
Germany’s defence minister called for changes to the way NATO members’ commitments to budget targets are assessed, in the face of bigger demands from Trump.
“NATO’s own figures clearly show that the UK spends over 2 percent of its GDP on defence,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
European allies are growing confident. They are reassured by Trump’s remarks to U.S. forces in Florida this week, when he said: “We strongly support NATO.”
U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to meet alliance leaders in Europe in May in a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that also touched on the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, the White House said.
NATO is helping Western Balkan governments build up intelligence and defence bodies to resist foreign, especially Russian, political influence, alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
NATO airstrike killed 30 Afghan civilians, including women and children in Kunduz. “They were asleep when their house came under attack,” Akbari said.
NATO’s aim is to make good on a promise to deter Russia in Europe’s ex-Soviet states, after Moscow orchestrated annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014.
NATO wants allies to contribute to its military build-up on Russia’s borders since Cold War as alliance prepares for a protracted quarrel with Moscow.