Russia Steers Clear of Discords Inside NATO, Says Diplomat

MOSCOW - The differences emerging inside NATO must be settled among its member countries, while Russia stands clear of them, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday when asked to comment on reports about the possibility of the US pulling out of NATO.

"As for relations within the alliance, this is the issue that must be settled among the member countries themselves, it has nothing to do with Russia, we are not a NATO member state," the diplomat said, adding that Russia has always deemed it necessary to carry on a dialogue with NATO.

 However, Moscow is concerned about NATO’s destabilizing influence on global security. "We understand perfectly well that NATO is shrouded in lots of money and tremendous political interests, that this is a big-big game. Unfortunately, we also note that this game harms in no small way that very global security that everybody declares," she stated.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, the venue of a NATO summit, on Thursday, US President Donald Trump said he had the authority to withdraw from NATO without congressional approval, but said he did not deem it necessary.

Earlier on Thursday, the American Politico newspaper said referring to NATO diplomatic and official sources that Trump has threatened NATO partners to break with NATO. According to the edition, he warned on Thursday of "grave consequences" if allies did not quickly ramp up their spending.

A female diplomatic source from a European delegation told reporters later that on the second day of the NATO summit, the US president had sternlydemanded the return to discussion on European military spending, but had not threatened to break with NATO.