Trump Attacks German-Russian Oil And Gas Deal Ahead of NATO Summit

Donald Trump is ‘More Loyal to Putin Than to Our NATO Allies,' Democrat Leaders Say After Germany ‘Insults’

In a tweet Tuesday, Trump said, "Many countries in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made".

He appeared to be attacking German support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russian Federation, the new US$11 billion (Dh40.40bn) Baltic Sea pipeline for imports of Moscow's gas supplies to Europe. The US has been lobbying EU countries to reject the pipeline for years, arguing that it is a threat to the European Union's energy security.

He said the deal meant that Germany was now "totally controlled" by Moscow.

"We look forward to your [Trump's] meeting with president Putin and I think that [Nato] leaders are also looking forward to your thoughts about your meeting with president Putin", Stoltenberg said.

"We have a lot of issues with Russian Federation, without any doubt, but on the other hand you should keep a communication line between countries or alliances and opponents without any question", she said.

Trump has preferred to take aim at allies. But some experts question Trump's strategy in raising the issue on Wednesday, days before he's due to meet with Russia's leader.

United States 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. "Well they could increase it immediately, tomorrow, and have no problem". "I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany". "Weakening Germany - and more specifically Chancellor Merkel - weakens Europe and could weaken the EU's ability to maintain sanctions against Russian Federation", says Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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Trump said the members will be catching up to their responsibilities but called on them to do more. During the campaign, Trump often resorted to the tactic of falsely accusing his opponents of things he had been criticized for doing. Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung headlined its story: "It is not only bad, it is catastrophic".

A press aide demanded the media leave the room as Trump pushed Stoltenberg to explain how the U.S.is supposed to protect Germany when its opening the front door to Vladimir Putin.

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

Hours later, though, Trump took a softer line during a face-to-face photo opp with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Following that, he will travel to England to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May, spend the weekend at one of his private golf clubs in Scotland.

Trump set the stage for clashes at the summit by writing to around a dozen allies to berate them for lagging on a 2014 pledge to try to spend two per cent of GDP on defence by 2024.

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. Trump has continued to highlight Putin's denials of such activity.

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