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Donald Trump says he would 'encourage' Russia to attack Nato allies who pay too little

Donald Trump says he would 'encourage' Russia to attack Nato allies who pay too little

Donald Trump has said that he would encourage Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to Nato members who make insufficient financial contributions to the Western security bloc.

The Republican frontrunner ramped up his attacks on foreign aid and longstanding international alliances at a rally in Conway, South Carolina, as he seeks to become the party’s candidate for November’s election.

Mr Trump had previously recounted a story he has told before about an unidentified Nato member who confronted him over his threat not to defend members who fail to meet the trans-Atlantic alliance's defence spending targets.

But this time, Mr Trump went further, saying he had told the member that he would, in fact, "encourage" Russia to do as it wishes in that case.

"You didn't pay? You're delinquent?"' Trump recounted saying. "No I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills."'

Nato allies agreed in 2014, after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, to halt the spending cuts they had made after the Cold War and move toward spending 2 per cent of their GDPs on defense by 2024.

Don Trump has rallied against the giving of foreign aid (PA)
Don Trump has rallied against the giving of foreign aid (PA)

Mr Trump's comments come as Ukraine remains mired in its efforts to stave off Russia's 2022 invasion and as Republicans in Congress have become increasingly skeptical of providing additional aid money to the country as it struggles with stalled counteroffensives and weapons shortfalls.

They also come as Mr Trump and his team are increasingly confident he will lock up the nomination in the coming weeks following commanding victories in the first votes of the 2024 Republican nominating calendar.

Earlier Saturday, Mr Trump called for the end of foreign aid, writing a series of messages on Truth Social in all capitals.

"FROM THIS POINT FORWARD, ARE YOU LISTENING U.S. SENATE(?), NO MONEY IN THE FORM OF FOREIGN AID SHOULD BE GIVEN TO ANY COUNTRY UNLESS IT IS DONE AS A LOAN, NOT JUST A GIVEAWAY," Mr Trump wrote.

During his 2016 campaign, Mr Trump alarmed Western allies by warning that the United States, under his leadership, might abandon its NATO treaty commitments and only come to the defense of countries that meet the alliance's guidelines by committing 2 per cent of their gross domestic products to military spending.