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BRUSSELS: Donald Trump’s threat to stop defending NATO countries that fall short of spending commitments if re-elected in the US is “reckless”, said European Council President Charles Michel on Sunday.

“The Transatlantic Alliance has underpinned the security and the prosperity of Americans, Canadians and Europeans for 75 years,” said Michel on X, formerly Twitter.

“Reckless statements on #NATO’s security and (Article) 5 solidarity serve only Putin’s interest” and “they do not bring more security or peace to the world”, he added.

Donald Trump comments on Russia, NATO ‘appalling and unhinged’: White House

“On the contrary, they re-emphasise the need for the #EU to urgently further develop its strategic autonomy and invest in its defence,” he continued.

Article 5 stipulates that if a NATO country is victim of an armed attack, each member of the Alliance must consider the act as an attack against the whole group and take measures to provide aid to the country under threat.

Trump threatened Saturday, in the event he is re-elected in the United States, that he would not defend NATO members who had not met their financial obligations, and going further would “encourage” Russia to attack them.

The former US president has regularly criticised allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for underfunding the group.

During a meeting in South Carolina, Trump said he had a conversation with the head of state of a NATO member, without naming them.

This statement came after Trump, likely the candidate to face Democrat President Joe Biden in November’s election, put pressure on Republicans in Congress to block a bill to provide new aid to Ukraine.

The White House reacted sharply to Trump’s remarks. “Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Saturday night.

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