World leaders, including US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, gathered in Brussels for the highly-anticipated NATO summit on May 25. This was the first NATO summit for US President Trump and newly elected French President Macron.
Hromadske's team travelled to Brussels and focused on what the Summit meant for the Eastern European region.
US President Trump suggested that Congress increase funding for US troops in Europe by 40%. In practice, this would mean more military, more training, and better alliance infrastructure.
Group of Seven members hurrying to a summit in Sicily didn't find time to speak to reporters. The press did, however, meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
"On the subject of Russia’s military exercises, which will start in the Fall; near the eastern border of Poland is Belarus, it is a question of our security," the Polish President told reporters. "NATO is vulnerable now, and it will follow the exercises closely."
Increasing intelligence, the struggle with the Islamic State, increasing defense spending to 2% of GDP and adding Montenegro to the ranks of NATO were among the topics discussed at the meeting.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also commented on Russia's role in the region:
"Russia is on NATO’s agenda always and Russia will be discussed during the meeting later on today," he said. "One of the reasons why we are investing more in our collective defense, why we are increasing our military presence in the eastern part of the alliance, is of course as a response to the aggressive actions of Russia we have seen in Ukraine."
Secretary Stoltenberg also expressed a number of concerns about Russian aggression in Ukraine continuing in spite of the Minsk Agreements:
"We are concerned about the lack of implementation of the Minsk Agreements," he told the press. "We are seeing many many violations of the ceasefire and we are seeing that heavy weapons are not being withdrawn from the contact line. We are particularly concerned about the fact that the international monitoring mission, the OSCE monitors not allowed to operate."
/Reporting by Zhanna Bezpiatchuk
/Text by Eilish Hart