"When countries in Europe start spending more and have a military that's ready for any problem that may develop, when they have their spending up at 2 percent, which is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation requirement, that means that these countries here in Europe are stronger, and It means the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance is stronger".
"We are seeing Russian Federation with malign activities on so many fronts right now, especially the hybrid area where they are through social media sowing discontent and even false information to try to divide our allies and take them away from the West and toward some dissidents and then hopefully they think influenced by them", the Envoy says.
The U.S. president's spontaneous approach to negotiations, and the inscrutable style of the Kremlin leader, make predicting the outcome of the summit with any accuracy close to impossible.
"I believe that [the European NATO members] are stepping up".
Diplomats fear a rancorous meeting in Brussels could undermine efforts to show unity in the face of the growing threat on the alliance's eastern flank, particularly with Trump set to meet Putin in Helsinki a few days later.
Jon Huntsman Jr., Trump's ambassador to Moscow, hinted that the USA president takes a tougher line on Putin in private, telling reporters, "The president will continue to hold Russian Federation accountable for its malign activities".
Around half of those polled said that relations between Russian Federation and the USA are tense (49%), while the number of those sharing this opinion was 30% in 2017.
Trump has even called into question NATO's principle of collective defense - under which an attack on one member draws a response from all - for allies he feels are not paying their dues.
"So they want to protect against Russia, yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia", Trump said.
The U.S. has been seeking an increased commitment by alliance members to increase defense spending.
Through all this has run a thread of accusations, strangely enough by the very liberals who for decades insisted US leaders needed to work more closely with Moscow, that Trump should be actively unfriendly toward Putin.
This disdain for USA allies is essentially the beating heart of much of Trump's foreign policy, it seems.
But plans for a full-fledged summit had been delayed amid the Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional probes into whether Trump campaign aides coordinated with Russian Federation to help Trump win the election.
As the investigation into ties between Russian Federation and trump continues, Trump's decision to meet one-on-one with Putin at an upcoming summit has drawn particular scrutiny, It seems Trump either does really have troubling ties to the Kremlin, or he doesn't mind acting in ways that make it look that way.
Much of the rest of Trump's foreign policy is equally freaky.