US President on Tuesday, April 3, reiterated his support for Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin saying good relations with Moscow were key but at the same time, nobody was tougher on Russia than him.
Trump of late has shown a complete non-alignment between his personal stand on Russia with that of the US state.
The president has congratulated Putin after the latter won his fourth presidential election and also expressed his desire to host a summit with Putin in Washington while at the same time, America's political and diplomatic circles have resented Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and have supported the expulsion of several Russian diplomats from the US as a penalty for the poisoning of a former spy in Salisbury, England. Washington also cautioned Trump against congratulating Putin on his election win but the president did not pay heed to it.
Trump defended his action saying having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing and most agree with that, "except very stupid people". He also patted his own back saying nobody has been tougher than himself on Moscow.
Trump's critics, however, said the president neither took up the election interference nor the spy poisoning issue with Putin during their talks, suggesting that he was not ruthless enough while facing the Moscow strongman.
Trump praises Baltic states for Nato spending
Trump's latest remarks on Russia came at his luncheon meeting with leaders from the three Baltic states - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia -- that border Russia and have a disturbing history of dealing with a hit.
The Baltic presidents, following their meeting with Trump, vowed to carry on with their Nato's defence-spending responsibilities hoping that it would only strengthen the security in the alliance's eastern side where Russia lies.
The Baltic heads of government also requested Trump to contribute more to deter the Russians by increasing the US military presence in the region but the latter did not commit to any fresh military deployment and instead praised the three countries for meeting their responsibilities on Nato's defence spending. He said other member countries of the Nato should follow suit.
Trump has shown a major disappointment with the Nato's functioning after coming to power saying its members were not doing enough in spending, a statement which had left many heads of state stunned and uncomfortable in Brussels in May 2017, when Trump went there for his first Nato meeting.