NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that any hint that NATO allies will not defend each other undermines the security of the Alliance and puts American and European soldiers at risk.
Stoltenberg’s comment followed former US President Donald Trump’s statement that he would not protect countries that do not pay their obligations to the Alliance and would “encourage” Russia to attack them.
“Any attack on NATO would be followed by a united and strong response,” Stoltenberg said.
In an address to his supporters in Conway, South Carolina, Trump said that he would not protect any country in the event of an attack by Russia, if that country did not fulfill its obligations to the Alliance.
The White House condemned the comments as “appalling and disproportionate.”
NATO members are obliged to defend any other member in case it is attacked.
Trump, who is the most likely Republican candidate in the US presidential election, has long criticized NATO and sees it as too much of a financial burden for the US to guarantee the defense of 30 other nations.