Senior NATO officials are worried that Trump could start talks with Putin about “redrawing the security landscape” across Europe if members of the alliance fail to comply with his demand to boost defense spending, The Telegraph reported, citing military and diplomatic sources.
One of the sources said that officials were concerned that the US president would use the upcoming summit in Brussels to withdraw American military support over the spending rift.
Another source pointed to fears over possible agreements between the two leaders that could allegedly increase Europe’s vulnerability:
"We could be in a situation where, between them, Trump and Putin will come up with some dodgy deal that they'll try to portray as a political win to both their countries but will ultimately leave Europe exposed and vulnerable at a crucial moment in our history with so much instability on the continent."
The diplomatic figure told the outlet that Trump might also use the offer of reducing the US military presence in Europe in exchange for Putin’s reassurance that Russia would use its clout over Iran to “help secure the withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria.”
The source further claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to convince his British counterpart Theresa May and Trump that they needed Putin’s help.
The report echoes former US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s remarks, who said that European officials were “scared to death” because of concerns that Trump would act unpredictably and prefer to follow through with his “America First” approach.
Moscow and Washington are now preparing for the first full-scale summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, set to take place on July 16 in Helsinki.