U.S. President Donald Trump described Poland as an exemplary ally in building defenses to counter Russian “destabilizing behavior”, while appearing to encourage Polish defiance toward the European Union.
Trump, en route to a potentially fractious G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, urged western NATO allies in Europe to spend more on defense, drawing a comparison with Poland which meets the agreed target of two percent of annual economic output.
The brief visit to Warsaw was billed as an opportunity for him to patch up relations with European allies after a tense alliance summit in May.
Trump said the United States and Poland shared similar values.
“We’ve discussed our mutual commitment to safeguarding the values at the heart of our alliance: freedom, sovereignty and the rule of law,” he said in a joint press conference after meeting Polish President Andrzej Duda.
“We are working with Poland in response to Russia’s actions and destabilizing behavior. And we are grateful for the example Poland has set … by being one of the few nations that actually meets its (NATO’s) financial obligations.”
The Kremlin said it disagreed with U.S. President Donald Trump’s assessment of Russia’s behavior as destabilizing. Trump is due to meet President Vladimir Putin for the first time on the sidelines of the Hamburg meeting.
Poland and east European allies have expressed deep concern at Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, as well as Russian military activity around its borders. Russia argues that this is a response to Western buildup.
Since winning an election in 2015, Poland’s euroskeptic Law and Justice (PiS) party has faced criticism from its western European peers over what some call an authoritarian tilt and its opposition to accepting Muslim migrants.
It shares views with Trump on issues such as migration, climate change and coal mining, and has long said Brussels institutions should give back some power to national governments.