The Nato chief, Jens Stoltenberg, has said any attack on the western military alliance would be met with a “united and forceful response”, after Donald Trump invited Russia to attack member countries that he perceived as not meeting their financial obligations.
Stoltenberg said in a statement: “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk. I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election, the US will remain a strong and committed Nato ally.”
He said Nato remained “ready and able to defend all allies”.
Trump told a campaign rally in South Carolina on Saturday night that he would “encourage” Russia to attack any of the US’s Nato allies that he felt were not paying their fair share.
The White House described the remarks as “appalling and unhinged”.
The former president has voiced misgivings about aid to Ukraine as it defends itself from the invasion launched by Russia in February 2022 – as well as to the existence of Nato, the 31-nation alliance that the US has committed to defending when necessary.
On Saturday, Trump claimed that during an unspecified Nato meeting he had told a fellow head of state that the US under his leadership would not defend any countries who were “delinquent”.
“One of the presidents of a big 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, you’re delinquent?’” said Trump, adding: “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”
The Polish defence minister, Władysław 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 the entire Nato. No election campaign is an excuse for playing with the security of the alliance.” [Continue reading…]