Trump says ‘Germany totally controlled by Russia’ through gas supplies

Jens Stoltenberg

GETTYJens Stoltenberg is waiting to announce the new countries that hit the defence target this year

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a statement Wednesday criticizing President Trump's remarks at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting that Germany was a "captive" of Russian Federation due to a pipeline project that would import gas to Russian Federation.

Trump claims that other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries have not been paying their fair share of the costs to support the alliance, which seeks to protect the U.S., Canada and European nations from attacks by hostile actors, such as Russian Federation. "It's very unfair to our taxpayer".

Stoltenberg responded by emphasizing NATO's unity.

"I have the United Kingdom, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin", Trump said.

Trump said: "If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russian Federation".

"Germany is a rich country", said Trump.

Merkel told reporters on arrival in Brussels on Wednesday, "I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union". She insisted that Germany today makes its decisions independently of Moscow, adding "That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany".

In what was supposed to be a brief photo op ahead of a bilateral breakfast meeting, Trump appeared to catch the secretary-general off guard, launching into the broadside as cameras clicked away and Stoltenberg struggled to get a word in.

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During a meeting with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday, President Trump said countries should increase defense spending to 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) - double the current target of 2%.

Only three countries aside from the U.S. - Estonia, Greece and the United Kingdom - are now spending above the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation guideline of 2% on defense. "Well they could increase it immediately, tomorrow, and have no problem", Trump said.

While on Air Force One en route to Belgium for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, President Trump took to Twitter to attack the alliance, going so far as to suggest he expects member nations that haven't spent enough on defense to reimburse the United States.

"You know, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France". I think that's very inappropriate.

Stoltenberg agreed there should be more done to prompt allies to invest more in their defense.

He recently suggested that his relationship with Putin is "easier" than his relationships with U.S. allies in Britain and Europe.

As Trump's arrival approached, European Council President Donald Tusk warned him to stop criticizing its trading and military partners.

The summit follows an acrimonious G7 meeting in Canada, and comes amid a deepening rift between Europe and the Trump administration over a range of issues, from the Iran nuclear deal, to Mr Trump's protectionist trade policy, to the middle east and climate change.

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