At NATO, Abrasive Trump Accuses Germany of Being Russian 'Captive'

Russian Matryoshka dolls depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are on sale in the Ruslania book store in Helsinki on July 9

Chancellor Angela Merkel recalled her own youth in Soviet-dominated East Germany and said Germany was independent in its policy choices in a pointed response to Trump saying Berlin was a "totally controlled by Russia".

Nato's secretary-general said the primary focus should be on all members reaching the current target of 2%.

The NATO chief was also frank about the impact of Trump's stance at a broader level. "I think that is very inappropriate".

Trump's decision to meet Putin was widely regarded as a blow to the prime minister's attempts to isolate Russian Federation following the Salisbury attack in March, even though he had strongly condemned the Kremlin's actions at the time.

"During the President's remarks today at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 per cent of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to 4 per cent".

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. "We're protecting everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said.

Former secretary of state John Kerry blasted President Trump's criticism of Germany in a lengthy statement on Wednesday morning as "strange", "counterproductive", and "disgraceful".

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"President Trump has a very direct language and message on defence spending, but fundamentally we all agree that we need fair burden sharing", Stoltenberg said on his arrival at the summit. "So we're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation, but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation".

Trump has claimed on numerous occasions over the last week that the United States" more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security of the group compared to its European allies is "very unfair' to the American taxpayer. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russian Federation where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russian Federation.

Commenting today on a newly signed joint EU-NATO declaration "to protect European citizens with all possible means available", Tusk said the details of the agreement include "improving the military mobility of troops and equipment, common preparedness for cyber and hybrid attacks, fighting terrorism and stopping migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean". "They have to step it up immediately", Trump said.

He's talking about increasing defense spending because he sees that is something that really plays to the idea that he's keeping a campaign promise.

"It was also because of your leadership", Stoltenberg told Trump.

The Trump administration is now trying to derail a German-Russian project to double the capacity of the underwater Nord Stream gas pipeline. Is Trump nickel-and-diming our allies because, in his view, the U.S.is getting ripped off? "But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they'd up it or wanted to get involved", Trump said.

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