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Trump lashes Germany over gas pipeline deal, calls it Russia's 'captive'

Reuters  |  BRUSSELS 

By Mason

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. launched a sharp public attack on on Wednesday for supporting a with Russia, saying had become "a captive to Russia" and he criticised it for failing to raise defence spending more.

Trump, meeting reporters with NATO Jens Stoltenberg, before a NATO summit in Brussels, said it was "very inappropriate" that the was paying for European defence against while Germany, the biggest European economy, was supporting with

Trump was due to meet German at the summit later in the day and will meet Russian in on Monday.

has given political support to the building of a new, $11-billion pipeline to bring Russian gas across the called 2, despite qualms among other EU states. However, Merkel insists the project is a private commercial venture and is not funded by German taxpayers.

"When makes a massive deal with Russia," Trump said to Stoltenberg. "We're supposed to be guarding against and goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to

"We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries. 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.

"So we're supposed to protect you against Russia and you pay billions of dollars to Russia and I think that's very inappropriate," Trump said at the residence of

"Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with You tell me, is that appropriate?," he asked, while Stoltenberg listened.

At one point, the former Norwegian pointed out that the NATO allies in disagreed among themselves on ways to reduce the continent's reliance on Russian gas.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia, cause they are getting 60 to 70 percent of their from Russia and a new pipeline."

Trump renewed his call for other NATO allies to pay in more to the after years in which U.S. taxpayers have, he said, borne an "unfair" share of military spending.

"I think these countries have to step it up, not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately. Germany is a rich country, they talk about increasing it a tiny bit by 2030. Well they could increase it immediately, tomorrow, and have no problem," Trump said.

"If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia. They got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear, they're getting so much of their from Russia. I think it is something NATO has to look at. It is very inappropriate."

(Reporting by Mason; writing by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Richard Balmforth)

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

First Published: Wed, July 11 2018. 14:11 IST