Kay Bailey Hutchison says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members 'making progress' on increasing defense spending

Trump NATO chief

While noting that "we need to do more" on defence spending, Hutchinson noted that more than half of NATO's members were on track to achieve the target set by the alliance of two per cent of gross domestic product spent on defence by 2024. Last month, a dour Trump stomped through the G7 summit in Canada, suggesting Russian Federation be readmitted to the elite economic group, despite having been expelled for invading neighboring Ukraine and annexing Crimea.

Asked about transatlantic tensions, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has cited the 1956 Suez Crisis and the 2003 Iraq war as examples of policy disagreements that have been overcome.

A protestor marches next to giant puppet of U.S. President Donald Trump, right, as he holds a sign which reads "Pro-America, Anti-Trump" during a demonstration in Brussels, Saturday, July 7, 2018. "I welcome the fact that Germany is significantly increasing its defence spending".

"The overall theme of this summit is going to be NATO's strength and unity", Hutchinson said. "The United States is not going to take care of everything", Trump told a rally last week, adding: "They kill us on trade". Now, questions have arisen over the fate of Crimea following Russia's annexation of the peninsula.

Beyer, in unusually frank remarks, told the media group that Trump's recent summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore has fueled concerns that Trump would let Putin "put one over on him" in Helsinki.

Huntsman stressed the importance of going in to any meeting with Russian Federation "with eyes wide open".

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A third of active-duty US military troops overseas - more than 60,000 - are stationed in Europe, including 35,000 in Germany, 12,000 in Italy, 8,500 in the United Kingdom and 3,300 in Spain, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of information from the Defense Manpower Data Center, a statistical arm of the Defense Department. The summit also will offer Putin a chance to try to persuade Trump to lift some of the sanctions imposed on Russian Federation over its 2014 annexation of Crimea, its support for separatists fighting the government in eastern Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

"In the actions we take, we are hoping to spur a multilateral response to address some of the world's toughest challenges", Mitchell said.

Huntsman's description of Russia's "malign" activities was far sharper than those expressed by Trump, who has indicated his admiration for Putin and said that he takes Putin at his word in denying election meddling.

The two ambassadors laid out a preliminary schedule for Trump's travels.

Peter Beyer, transatlantic coordinator for Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, told a German newspaper chain that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation states had not been included in the planning for the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16.

Representatives of Amnesty International held a banner demanding, "End Family Detention" while others held puppets depicting Trump. In the afternoon, he will have a one-on-one meeting with Putin, followed by an expanded bilateral meeting and a working lunch before he departs for Washington.

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