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    NATO Chief Hails Record Defense Spending While Warning that Trump’s Remarks Undermine Security

    NATO Chief Hails Record Defense Spending While Warning that Trump's Remarks Undermine Security

    — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that its European members and Canada have ramped up defense spending to record levels, as he warned that former U.S. President Donald Trump was undermining their security by calling into question the U.S. commitment to its allies.

    Stoltenberg said U.S. partners in NATO have spent $600 billion more on their military budgets since 2014 when 's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in prompted them all to reverse the spending cuts they had made after the Cold War ended.

    “Last year we saw an unprecedented rise of 11% across European allies and Canada,” Stoltenberg told reporters on the eve of a meeting of the organization's defense ministers in Brussels.

    In 2014, NATO leaders committed to move toward spending 2% of their gross domestic product on defense within a decade. It has mostly been slow going, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine two years ago focused minds. The 2% figure is now considered a minimum requirement.

    “This year, I expect 18 allies to spend 2% of the on defense. That is another record number and a six-fold increase from 2014 when only three allies met the target,” Stoltenberg said.

    On Saturday, Trump, the front-runner in the U.S. for the Republican Party's nomination this year, said he once warned that he would allow Russia to do whatever it wants to NATO members that are “delinquent” in devoting 2% of GDP to…

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