Attack comes before meeting with Putin at G20 summit
DONALD TRUMP criticised Russia during a visit to Poland yesterday, ahead of talks with Vladimir Putin at today’s G20 summit.
Addressing a packed audience in the capital’s Krasinski Square — site of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising — the US president pledged to defend them from the Russian bogeyman he will meet in Hamburg.
He stated for the first time: “We are firmly behind article five” of the Nato charter, “the mutual defence commitment.”
“We urge Russia to cease its destabilising activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran,” Mr Trump said.
He added that Moscow should “join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defence of civilisation itself.”
Mr Trump said that while Nato’s former target the Soviet Union was gone, Europe now faces “dire threats” such as “radical Islamic terrorism.”
However, he declared that “the West will never be broken,” adding: “Let us all fight like Poles” did against the nazis.
Earlier, Mr Trump met Polish President Andrzej Duda for talks that touched on Warsaw’s purchase of US Patriot surface-to-air missiles.
Mr Duda said he hoped to conclude a long-term deal for imports of US liquid petroleum gas as an alternative to cheap piped gas from Russia.
Gas imports were also on the agenda at a summit of the Three Seas Initiative of nations bordering the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas, which Mr Trump attended.
Afterwards, he struck a less hostile tone towards Moscow.
Asked whether Russia had interfered in last year’s US presidential election, he said: “Nobody really knows for sure.”
But he repeated his criticism of how Barack Obama handled the claims.
“They say he choked. Well, I don’t think he choked,” Mr Trump said. “I think he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and he said, ‘Let’s not do anything about it’.”
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that, while Washington and Moscow had “unresolved differences,” they had “the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests.”
That could include “no-fly zones [and], on the ground, ceasefire observers and coordinated delivery of humanitarian assistance.”
Mr Trump was due to fly to Hamburg last night for the G20 summit, where anti-globalisation campaigners had organised an evening protest with the slogan: “G20: Welcome to hell.”