Amid growing concerns about Russian aggression and regional security, the Republican Party, led by former US President Donald Trump, is increasingly adopting a retreat stance.
Trump has expressed doubts about aid to Ukraine and has been critical of NATO, often arguing that it is unfair that the United States is forced to defend other members of the 31-nation alliance.
On Saturday, he took his stance further, saying he would “encourage” Russia to attack any member nation that had not met its financial obligations. Recalling an unspecified NATO meeting, Trump recounted a conversation with another head of state. Do not mention any names.
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“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we get attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, ‘You didn’t pay, are you in default?'”
“No, I wouldn’t protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever they want. You have to pay. “You have to pay your bills.”
Trump’s comments coincide with comments made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg amid growing requests for shells, ammunition and other military assistance from Ukraine as it continues to combat Russian forces in its third year.
In addition, Western leaders have intensified calls for more substantial support. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Joe Biden on Friday urged U.S. lawmakers to back a long-awaited military aid package for Ukraine, warning that kyiv would struggle to defend itself against the Russian invasion without it. AFP reported.
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Stoltenberg said: “NATO is not seeking war with Russia, but we must prepare for potentially decades of confrontation,” adding: “We closely follow what Russia does and have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance.”
“If Putin wins in Ukraine, there is no guarantee that Russian aggression will not spread further. Therefore, supporting Ukraine now and investing in NATO’s own capabilities is our best defense,” Stoltenberg said.
Washington, which has provided Ukraine with more than $110 billion in aid since the Russian invasion in February 2022, has indicated its reluctance to engage in discussions over Putin’s terms.
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NATO defense ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on February 15, just a week before the second anniversary of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. An important aspect of the talks will be the meeting of the Ukrainian defense contact group.
Earlier, in an interview with an American journalist from the period before Russia invaded Ukraine almost two years ago, Putin commented that Western leaders had recognized the impossibility of inflicting strategic defeat on Russia and were now reflecting on their next steps.
However, Putin showed no inclination to attack Poland. When asked about the possibility of sending Russian troops to NATO member Poland, Putin replied: “Only in one scenario: if Poland attacks Russia.”
At the beginning of January, during the inauguration of a monument to the Second World War, Putin had said that “in several European countries, Russophobia is promoted as state policy.”
(With contributions from agencies)
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