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“Germany is a captive of Russia,” Trump stated at a gathering with NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg, his first since arriving within the Belgian capital. “It’s extremely inappropriate.”

The Red Tea Detox

Trump went on to complain that the US is predicted to “defend them in opposition to Russia,” regardless of Germany making “billions of {dollars}” in vitality funds to Moscow.

“I believe it is one thing that NATO has to have a look at,” Trump stated.

Trump’s feedback have been a outstanding criticism for a US president to make a couple of shut US ally and is more likely to enhance tensions between the US and its European allies. Certainly, whereas Trump singled out Germany, he additionally famous that “quite a few” NATO international locations have made pipeline offers with Russia.

Trump, allies set for face-off during first day of NATO meetings

Trump’s feedback drew forceful pushback from the sometimes staid NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg, who went forwards and backwards with Trump over the significance of preserving the alliance.

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“The power of NATO is that regardless of these variations, we’ve got all the time been capable of unite round our core job to guard and defend one another as a result of we perceive that we’re stronger collectively than aside,” Stoltenberg instructed Trump.

Trump fired again: “How will you be collectively when a rustic is getting its vitality from the particular person you need safety in opposition to or from the group that you really want safety in opposition to?”

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“As a result of we perceive that after we stand collectively additionally in coping with Russia, we’re stronger,” Stoltenberg stated.

Trump rejected Stoltenberg’s argument, saying Germany is “making Russia richer” and once more repeating his declare that Germany “is captive to Russia,” earlier than White Home officers intervened to usher reporters out of the room.

German Protection Minister Ursula von der Leyen preemptively rebuffed considerations about any German “dependency” on Russia in a Tuesday interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, saying Germany has “a really various mixture of vitality provides.” Leyen additionally famous that Merkel has been on the forefront of diplomatic efforts to curb Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Germany imports roughly 94% of its pure fuel. In 2015, 35% of imported fuel got here from Russia, whereas 34% was sourced from Norway and 29% from the Netherlands. However German imports of Russian fuel have risen lately, in line with specialists.

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Most Russian fuel is delivered to Europe through a pipeline that runs by way of Ukraine, an association that’s seen as dangerous given geopolitical tensions within the area.

Plans for a brand new fuel pipeline that might bypass Ukraine, the Nord Stream 2, have been within the works for years, however the challenge stays controversial. Germany argues that the brand new pipeline would offer extra vitality safety.

CNN’s Ivana Kottasová contributed to this report.

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