US President Donald Trump launched a blistering attack on Germany at the start of a tense NATO summit Wednesday, accusing Berlin of being “captive” to Russia and demanding it and other allies immediately step up defense spending.
“Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II pipeline.
“Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.”
Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defense, accusing them of freeloading on America and singling out Germany for particular criticism.
Europe’s biggest economy spends just 1.24 percent of GDP on defense, compared with 3.5 percent for the US, well below the NATO guideline of two percent.
“We’re protecting Germany, France and everybody… this has been going on for decades,” Trump said. “We’re not going to put up with it and it’s inappropriate.”