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NATO states increase defense spending amid Trump's scandalous statements

NATO states increase defense spending amid Trump's scandalous statements NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (Getty Images)

This year, a record 18 out of 31 NATO members will meet the alliance's defense spending goal of 2% of GDP. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made this announcement, according to Bloomberg.

“However, some allies still have some way to go,” Stoltenberg said, adding that countries are "making real progress."

NATO states increase defense spending amid Trump's scandalous statements

This statement comes amidst Joe Biden's criticism of Donald Trump for suggesting he would allow Russia to attack NATO members who hadn't met spending targets. The U.S. President called these remarks "dangerous" and "un-American."

Stoltenberg previously warned in response to Trump's comments that any suggestion that allies would not defend each other undermines NATO's entire security.

Members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (Ramstein group), led by the U.S. and coordinating arms supplies to approximately 50 countries, will meet in Brussels on February 14, followed by a meeting of NATO defense ministers the next day.

According to a high-ranking NATO diplomat, the prospect of Trump returning to the White House has sparked active discussions among allies about what Europe can do to ensure that the U.S. invests in transatlantic security.

In addition to increasing defense spending and aiding Ukraine, allies also need to spend more time addressing issues that the U.S. president considers important, including China, said an anonymous diplomat.

Trump's controversial statement

During a political rally on February 10 in South Carolina, Trump complained about what he called "delinquent" payments by some NATO countries and recounted a past conversation with the leader of a "big country" about a potential Russian attack on those countries.

"No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them (Russia - ed.) to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay," Trump said he told the unnamed leader.

These remarks drew condemnation from the White House, which called them horrible and jeopardizing U.S. national security, as well as from other senior Western officials.