President Donald Trump lashed out at Germany in remarks at the outset of a NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday, claiming the U.S. ally is “totally controlled by Russia.”
Trump argued the U.S. is providing protection for Germany even as the country pays Russia billions of dollars for energy.
“I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said.
“So we’re protecting Germany. We’re protecting France. We’re protecting all of these countries,” he added. “And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia, where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia.”
Trump was seemingly referring to the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which is meant to carry 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea
German authorities have issued permits for the construction of the pipeline, which is opposed by other European countries such as Poland and the Baltics.
Trump said Germany will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia with the new pipeline.
“Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia, because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said. “So we’re supposed to protect Germany, but they’re getting their energy from Russia. Explain that. And it can’t be explained.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged that the pipeline is an issue where allies disagree but argued the alliance should remain united.
“The strength of NATO is that despite these differences, we have always been able to unite around our core task, to protect and defend each other, because we understand that we are stronger together than apart,” Stoltenberg said.
Trump also continued his criticism of NATO allies for not spending more on defense, specifically targeting Germany.
“Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States, in actual numbers, is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP,” Trump said. “So I think that’s inappropriate.”
He added, “You know, we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody. And yet we’re paying a lot of money to protect.”
Responding to Trump’s comments, German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted she was brought up in East Germany when it was a satellite state of the Soviet Union.
“I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union,” Merkel said. “I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany.”
“Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions,” she added. “That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany.”
Merkel also defended Germany’s contributions to NATO, noting the country is the second largest provider of troops.
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)
by RTTNews Staff Writer
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