‘We’re not prisoners’: German FM berates Trump for ‘Russia captives’ remark

President Donald Trump took his war of words with America's allies to a new level Wednesday, telling NATO's top official Germany is "captive" to Russian Federation due to a recent energy deal.

In a bilateral breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in front of reporters, Trump immediately launched into a tirade about the pipeline.

"It's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", he said. Ms. Merkel has been considerably tougher on Russian President Vladimir Putin than Mr. Trump has; unlike the USA president, she has never suggested acceptance of Russia's forcible annexation of Crimea.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who meets Trump at the summit, has given political backing to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to import more gas, despite criticism from other European Union governments.

Since the start of his campaign for president more than three years ago, Trump has been accused by critics of taking a more favorable stance toward Russian Federation, a traditional rival to USA power, than the United States' allies. The U.S. spends the most at 22.1 percent because it has the largest economy.

Donald Trump launched an extraordinary tirade against Germany on the opening day of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, accusing Berlin of being a "a captive of the Russians" because of its dependency on energy supplies.

"He suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 per cent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 per cent", Sarah Sanders told reporters. The organization is asking all member states spend a minimum 2 percent of their GDP on defensive measures by 2024. "The U.S. presence in Europe helps to protect Europe but it also helps the United States project power to the Middle East, to Africa".

Schumer's warning comes a day after Trump said his easiest meeting on his foreign trip to Europe over the next week could be his sit-down with Putin. "My mother's family, for example, was divided by the building of the Wall", she said in remarks upon receiving the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

According to NATO, American defense spending is down to 3.5 percent this year from an estimated 3.57 percent last year.

Of Nato's 29 members, just five meet that target this year: the US, Greece, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Latvia.

Mr Trump earlier claimed that Germany was "captive to Russia".

Trump's words about the upcoming Putin meeting contrasted sharply with the way in which he assailed Germany as he arrived in Brussels.

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