President Trump called Russia a “destabilizing” influence in Europe and the Middle East, and urged it to “join the community of responsible nations,” in his strongest remarks yet against the regime of Vladimir Putin, whom he is scheduled to meet Friday in Hamburg for the first time.
His remarks in Warsaw’s Krasinski Square, which marks the 1944 Warsaw uprising against the Nazis, came after the U.S. agreed to sell Patriot missiles to Poland. The president also used the opportunity to reiterate the NATO commitment to mutual defense, a declaration he did not make during the NATO summit in May, prompting consternation among U.S. allies wary of Russia’s ambitions.
“To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated—not merely with its words but with its actions—that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual-defense commitment,” Trump said Thursday. “Words are easy, but actions are what matters. And for its own protection, Europe, and you know this, everybody knows this, everybody has to know this, Europe must do more.”
Trump has repeatedly said NATO members must spend more on defense—a position in line with past U.S. administrations. But he has been criticized because he appeared to suggest U.S. commitment to mutual defense was predicated on its allies’ defense spending.