Reuters: At NATO, abrasive Trump lashes Germany for being Russian 'captive'11 July 2018 | 14:15 | FOCUS News Agency
In a startling public outburst against the NATO heavweight, Trump told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Germany was wrong to support a new $11-billion Baltic Sea pipeline to import Russian gas while being slow to meet targets for contributing to NATO defense spending that was intended to protect Europe from Russia.
“We’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium.
Trump, who is set to hold a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later on Wednesday, appeared to substantially overstate German reliance on Russian energy and to imply the German government was funding the pipeline, which Berlin says is a commercial venture.
With tensions in the Western defense alliance already running high over Trump’s demands for more contributions to ease the burden on U.S. taxpayers, and a nationalistic stance that has seen trade disputes threaten economic growth in Europe, the latest remarks will fuel concerns among allies over the U.S. role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War Two.
After the two-day summit in Brussels, Trump will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen hit back at Trump’s truculent remarks: “We have a lot of issues with Russia without any doubt,” she told reporters in English. “On the other hand, you should keep the communication line between countries or alliances and opponents without any question.”
© 2018 All rights reserved. Citing Focus Information Agency is mandatory!