Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

TRUMP TAKES EUROPE: The President Says Germany 'A CAPTIVE' of Russian Federation

TRUMP TAKES EUROPE: The President Says Germany 'A CAPTIVE' of Russian Federation

In a combative start to his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation visit, President Donald Trump asserted Wednesday (July 11) that a pipeline project has made Germany "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" and blasted allies' defense spending, opening what was expected to be a fraught summit with a list of grievances involving American allies.

"You tell me if that is appropriate?"

He went as far as to call Germany "captive of Russia" because its alleged dependency on Russian gas supplies.

"How can you be stronger when a country is getting energy from the person you want to protect against?"

Trump plans to meet one-on-one Wednesday afternoon with Merkel, where he will reiterate the same tough message to her face, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Despite Trump's claims about Germany, Merkel served as a forceful advocate for imposing - and maintaining - sanctions on Russian Federation after it annexed Crimea in 2014, arguing that it violated the principles of the worldwide order established after World War II.

Merkel, for her part, called the two nations "good partners" and said "we wish to continue to cooperate in the future".

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, accusing them of freeloading on America and singling out Germany for particular criticism.

"I just don't want us to be too friendly with them like he was with Kim Jong Un, although I supported that summit", Richardson said.

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Sitting at the table with the president were Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, Trump defended his public reprimanding of allied countries over their defense spending.

But Trump then dismissed that recent increase in spending as a "very small amount of money" relative to what was owed from the past and what should be the current level.

Donald Tusk: "First of all, dear America, appreciate your allies". "After years of cutting defense budgets, they have started to add billions to their defense budgets". He said Wednesday that last year's increases marked the largest in a generation.

"Why was that a year ago?" "So we're going to have a meeting on that", Trump said, describing the situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

In the USA, reaction was mixed. "Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. I don't think it's fair to the United States".

Trump played up the success of the bilateral meeting and the potential to resolve issues.

Even Stoltenberg - a mild-mannered former Norwegian prime minister who has cultivated a positive relationship with Trump - appeared reduced to spluttering as Trump cut him off after he started to explain that allies traded with Russian Federation even during the Cold War.

USA ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters that Trump would also recommit to one of the founding articles of NATO - Article 5 - which holds that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.

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