ERR's Washington correspondent had the opportunity on Tuesday to ask U.S. President Donald Trump questions before his lunch with the Baltic presidents as well as during the joint press conference later on.
Maria-Ann Rohemäe asked President Trump how he sees Vladimir Putin, and whether the Russian president is an enemy or someone the West should seek a dialogue with. Trump replied that he believes a dialogue with Putin is possible, and that nobody has been stricter towards Russia than him.
Trump pointed to the increased U.S. defense budget and stronger military, which he said isn't good news for Russia. He also stressed again that NATO members haven't invested as much in their national defense as they could have, and repeated his demand that all of the alliance's countries need to invest more.
Referring to the diplomatic skirmishes of the last few weeks, Trump said that while the United States had expelled 60 diplomats, some of Europe's larger states had only expelled a handful.
Trump said that nobody had been tougher on Russia than him, and that he believes that he can have a "good relationship" with Putin. Good relationships with Russia, China, and other countries are a good thing, not a bad thing, Trump said.
Rohemäe also asked Trump before his lunch with presidents Kaljulaid, Vējonis, and Grybauskaitė of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania if the United States is planning to deploy surface-to-air missile systems to the Baltic states. Trump didn't answer.
Asked if in her opinion the Baltic states' defense is sufficient, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid confirmed that deterrent capacity was discussed in the meeting, and added that "equal partners discuss these issues together and solve them together."
More on Trump's replies in the presidents' joint press conference on Tuesday in the video above.
Editor: Dario Cavegn