"We are not prisoners, neither of Russian Federation nor of the United States", Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters. Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, on Thursday he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Trump's remarks showed the USA was eyeing to scuttle Russia's gas supplies to Europe to push its own energy sector, the report said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said allies had reaffirmed in their communique their intention to meet the goal of 2 percent by 2024 and no more.
But had the early morning tweets raging against "rich North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries" not paying their share and the criticism of Germany only been the beginning?
Neither side expects the one-day summit on Monday, the first between the two leaders, to yield major policy breakthroughs given the battered state of U.S. -Russia relations, which are languishing at their lowest ebb since the Cold War.
When the summit resumed for a session with the leaders of non-members Ukraine and Georgia, Trump failed to appear for almost an hour, officials said.
He used the forum to again blast the "rigged witch hunt", his term for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election, saying it "hurts" USA and Russian relations.
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The second day of the defence pact meeting was disrupted and repeatedly rescheduled, as Trump's insistence on renegotiating his allies' defence budgets took precedence over issues such as Ukraine and Georgia's vulnerability to Russian Federation. "They're very strong. Very unified, very strong".
"The clear message from President Trump is having an impact", he said. "I let them know I was extremely unhappy with what was happening" and on Thursday he had been "probably a little bit more firm".
In the same breath, he sounded a strongly conciliatory tone with the Russian leader despite the USA intelligence community's assessment that Putin not only meddled in the 2016 elections to help Trump but also continues his cyberwar efforts going into the 2018 mid-terms. It was unclear anything concrete changed, although NATO's chief Jens Stoltenberg spoke of a "new sense of urgency".
Donald Trump is "applying political pressure" over Nord Stream 2, a planned gas link from Russian Federation to Germany which is opposed by the U.S. government, a senior Polish official said on Friday. 4 per cent is what people should be spending.
Mr Trump stated his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, speaking after reports that he had warned leaders that the United States could pull out of the alliance if other members failed to increase their contributions. "Every single U.S. president has been pushing the point of extra spending since Reagan and they have all been played I am not going to be".
When asked about Russian Federation illegally occupying Crimea, Trump blamed the Obama administration and said Putin "wouldn't have done that if I was president".
"In terms of real capability, the alliance has become stronger over the last couple of years", he said.
"The U.S. position strikes us as not constructive and in contradiction to the rules of global trade and economic relations", he said.