U.S. President Donald Trump wrapped up his short trip to Poland, reaffirming that the United States stands “firmly behind” Article 5 of the NATO treaty and sharply criticizing Russia for supporting Iranian and Syrian governments and its activities in Europe.
Trump spoke on July 6 before a cheering, flag-waving crowd of 10,000 people at historic Krasinski Square in central Warsaw, where former President Lech Walesa sat among guests in the VIP area.
We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran, and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.President Donald Trump, addressing a crow in Warsaw, Poland on July 6, 2017
During the nationally televised speech, Trump demanded that Moscow ceases its support of "hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran".
Russia and Iran both support Bashar Assad's government in Syria in deadly conflicts that have left thousands dead and millions displaced.
Both Tehran and Moscow say they are combating "terrorism" in Syria.
Trump urged Poland's long-time rival, Russia, to “join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.”
Any comments by Trump on Russia are closely watched in Poland.
The country's proximity to its rival has heightened its concerns about Moscow’s intentions in the region, especially after Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine, and its alleged public-opinion manipulation campaigns during elections in the United States and some European Union countries.
Elsewhere in his speech, President trump said the US repeatedly "has demonstrated not only with words, but with its actions, that it stands behind Article 5" of the NATO treaty -- the provision stating that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all members of the alliance.
Many observers were closely watching Trump's comments about the treaty provision after he shocked NATO allies during a May meeting in Brussels by failing to mention it.
Trump also called on America's NATO allies to join the United States in a defense of the West against "radical Islamic terrorism" and "any form of ideological support" that terrorists receive.
Returning to one of his oft-repeated demands, he said all NATO members must meet their financial commitments to the alliance, and he praised Poland for being one of the few NATO countries that has done so.
Trump described Poland as a U.S. ally that is "an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization."
Earlier on July 6, after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump said the United States is "committed to maintaining peace and security in Central Europe," and is "working with Poland in response to Russia's actions and destabilizing behavior."
Trump also reaffirmed Washington's commitment to the NATO alliance, saying: "Our strong alliance with NATO and Poland remains critical to deterring conflict and ensuring that war between great powers never again ravages Europe and that the world will be a safer and better place."
Meanwhile, Russia responded to the US president's criticisms and a Kremlin spokesman said Moscow disagrees with Trump’s description of Russia’s behavior as “destabilizing,” and said the Kremlin regrets that there is a lack of understanding between Russia and the United States.
Trump told reporters he thinks Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but said he also thinks "other people and, or, countries" also may have interfered in the election campaign. "Nobody really knows for sure," Trump said.
Trump has been criticized in the past by many in the United States for failing to acknowledge Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, and some members of his transition team are under investigation for their ties to Russia.
In Warsaw, Trump also told a summit of Central and Eastern European leaders that "America will be your strongest ally and your steadfast partner" in their attempts to reduce the region's dependence on Russian energy supplies.
Trump encouraged leaders at Three Seas Initiative Summit to take advantage of newly available supplies of U.S. liquefied natural gas.
The Three Seas Initiative is a joint project of Poland and Croatia that was launched in 2016 with the aim of strengthening trade, infrastructure, and cooperation on energy and politics between countries that border the Adriatic Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea.
Other countries involved in the initiative include Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Austria.
Trump departed Warsaw after his midday speech and meetings with the country’s supportive conservative leaders, arriving around 4 p.m. in Hamburg, Germany, where he will attend the two-day Group of 20 (G20) summit and on July 7 meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He is likely to face a more-tense situation in Germany, both from skeptical G20 leaders and potentially thousands of protesters on the streets, where some 20,000 police have been deployed to provide security during the summit.