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Kremlin accuses Trump of trying to bully Europe into buying U.S. LNG

Reuters  |  MOSCOW 

By Andrew Osborn

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The on Thursday rejected U.S. Donald Trump's description of as a "captive" of due to its energy reliance, saying his statement was part of a U.S. campaign to bully into buying American

Trump told at a NATO summit in on Wednesday that it was wrong to support an $11-billion pipeline to import even more Russian gas while being slow to meet NATO targets for defence spending.

Trump's comments came ahead of his summit on Monday with Russian in Helsinki, though the said they were unlikely to have an impact on what was always going to be a difficult meeting due to the number of disagreements between the two countries.

is keen to press ahead with the 2 pipeline since it has the potential to double its under the to Germany, bypassing traditional routes through with which it has poor relations.

However opposes the project, and a for the U.S. State Department told on Wednesday that Western firms invested in the pipeline were at risk of sanctions.

said Trump's statement marked an escalation of a U.S. campaign to talk down Russian to in an attempt to push the U.S. instead.

"As for Germany's dependence (on Russia) as a major we cannot agree with this premise," Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

"Supplies of do not lead to dependence of one country on another but to complete mutual dependence. That is a guarantee of stability and future development."

Peskov said Moscow regarded U.S. objections to the new pipeline as "unfair competition" aimed at trying to force European countries to buy costlier U.S. liquefied

"We consider that it's a question of economic competition and that ... the buyers must take their own decision," he said.

Speaking in Brussels, U.S. of Energy said he had not heard any of his EU counterparts talk positively about 2 and said didn't like it because it didn't promote diversity of supply.

"The is pretty straightforward about what he believes and he thinks 2 is not in the European Union's best interest and my bet is he'll be more than happy to tell President Putin that straight to his face," said Perry.

Five Western firms have invested in Nord Stream 2 - (BASFn.DE) and (UN01.DE) of Germany, Austria's (OMVV.VI), Anglo-Dutch (RDSa.L), and France's (PA).

(Additional reporting by Denis Pinchuk, and in Moscow and by in Brussels; Editing by and Andrew Heavens)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 12 2018. 21:55 IST