US president says Berlin’s relationship with Moscow is ‘inappropriate’ in tirade on opening day of summit
Donald Trump has launched an extraordinary tirade against Germany on the opening day of the Nato summit in Brussels, accusing Berlin of being a “a captive of the Russians” because of its dependency on energy supplies.
At his first meeting of the summit, with the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, Trump described the relationship between Germany and Russia as “inappropriate”.
Nato officials had been nervously awaiting the first meeting as an indicator of how Trump – who arrived in Brussels on Tuesday night – would behave over the next two days. Within minutes they had their answer.
This summit is shaping up to be the most divisive in Nato’s 69-year history. Normally, Nato summits are mostly fixed in advance and proceed in an orderly fashion. Trump’s first words signalled this one was not going to be like that.
He complained that German politicians had been working for Russian energy companies after leaving politics and said this too was inappropriate. Germany was totally controlled by Russia, Trump said.
With Stoltenberg looking on uncomfortably throughout, the US president was unrelenting. “I think it is very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia,” Trump said. “We are supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions dollars a year to Russia.
“We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. I think that is very inappropriate.”
He added: “It should never have been allowed to happen. Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70% of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.