Donald Tusk takes on Trump over tariffs and Russia over spy attack

 
Catherine Neilan
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European Council Leaders Meet in Brussels
"Make trade not war," Tusk said today (Source: Getty)

Donald Tusk has urged the US President to "make trade not war", ahead of further details expected to be published imminently regarding new steel and aluminium tariffs.

Ahead of a press conference in Helsinki this afternoon, the President of the European Council this morning tweeted: "Instead of trade war, we should go back to EU-US trade talks now."

His comments come after colleague and trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom urged Donald Trump to exempt the EU from the tariffs – a 25 per cent levy on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium. She warned that not excluding the trading bloc would be "very damaging for trans-Atlantic relations."

Tusk also weighed in on the escalating situation between the UK and Russia.

"I express my full solidarity with PM Theresa May in the face of the brutal attack inspired, most likely, by Moscow. I’m ready to put the issue on next week’s EUCO [European Council] agenda," he wrote.

He also made an allusion to Trump's qualified support for the UK so far.

"For real friends, this should be obvious: At a time of fake news spreading, meddling in our elections, and attacks on people on our soil with nerve agent, the response must not be transatlantic bickering but transatlantic unity," Tusk said.

May is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon, following Prime Minister's questions.

Russia had been given until midnight last night to offer a "credible" explanation for why Russian-produced nerve agent Novichok had been identified as the substance used against former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The pair are still in critical condition in hospital. A police officer is also in a critical, but stable, condition.

Yesterday Russia made it clear there would be no explanation. Last night the foreign ministry warned the UK it "should not threaten a nuclear power", adding that “any threat to take ‘punitive’ measures against Russia will meet with a response”.

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