President Donald Trump expressed “strong support for NATO” and its allies during a Sunday call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the White House said. Trump and Stoltenberg discussed a “peaceful resolution of the conflict along the Ukrainian border,” the White House said, although the readout did not acknowledge Russia’s aggression in the conflict in Crimea. Trump’s support of NATO comes as an apparent reversal of his previous positions, when he implied that he might not come to the aid of NATO allies in the Baltic states, should Russia invade.
“We have many NATO members that aren’t paying their bills,” he told The New York Times. Informed that the U.S. was treaty-obligated to protect NATO allies, Trump added, “You can’t forget the bills. They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that... Have they fulfilled their obligations to us? If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.”