NATO leaders who are holding a two-day summit in Brussels, have issued a declaration upon the results of the first day of their session where they call on Russia, among other things, “to withdraw the forces it has stationed” in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
"We reiterate our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova within their internationally recognised borders," the declaration said. "In accordance with its international commitments, we call on Russia to withdraw the forces it has stationed in all three countries without their consent."
The first day of the summit also saw tense exchanges over defence spending with US President Donald Trump urging Nato allies to commit 4% of their annual output (GDP) to military spending.
"In the history of NATO we have had many disagreements and we have been able to overcome them again and again," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the start of his news conference Wednesday afternoon.
On the second day of the summit heads of state and government of 29 members states of the North-Atlantic pact plan to turn their attentions to the conflict in Afghanistan.
Trump an hour before the second day of the summit got underway tweeted: “All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!”
NATO headquarters says the alliance is on track to increase its overall defence spending by 3.8 percent in 2018, and a total of eight members are expected to reach the 2 percent benchmark by the end of 2018. Stoltenberg noted that European countries and Canada are expected to "add an extra $266 billion to defense between now and 2024."
When the Brussels summit winds up, Trump will travel to Britain later on Thursday for a two-day working visit and then to Helsinki to see Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Monday.
With reporting by Reuters, TASS