BRATISLAVA, May 15 (Reuters) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that cuts in European members’ defence spending, especially in central and eastern Europe, were unsustainable as Russia increases its military budget.
“Russian defence spending has grown by more than 10 percent in real terms each year over the past five years,” he told a security conference in the Slovak capital.
”By contrast, several European NATO countries have cut their defence spending by more than 20 percent over the same period.
“And the cuts have been particularly deep here in central and eastern Europe. This is unsustainable. Now is the time to stop the cuts and start reversing the trend.” (Reporting by Jan Lopatka and Jakub Iglewski; Writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by Hugh Lawson)