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Trump brands Germany a "captive of Russian Federation", days before he meets Putin

12 July 2018

The U.S., which spent $685.9 billion on defense in 2017, now makes up 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP.

Stoltenberg estimated European allies and Canada will add $266 billion to their military spending by 2024 and said, "this is really adding some extra momentum", apparently meaning Trump's pressure.

"They are going to up it to levels like they have never though it before", he said.

In a tweet today after a day of meetings, in which he lashed out at allies for insufficient defense spending, Trump calls on member nations to immediately boost spending.

He complained the United States "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that member nations meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is insisting that Georgia will one day join the world's biggest security alliance, despite separatist ambitions in parts of the former Soviet republic.

Trump declared that a joint natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive to Russian Federation".

"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 Russian Federation", he said Wednesday at a breakfast meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg. In the afternoon, he heads to his next stop: the United Kingdom.

'Their tariffs on our autos are four times higher in their defense spending is one fourth of what ours is and Germany is the wealthiest country in Europe, spending on defense is much less than most of other countries, ' he said.

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White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders confirmed the ask to reporters on Wednesday, saying that the president "wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations".

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she knew what it meant to be under Kremlin domination and was glad a united Germany was now able to "make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions". Also present was France's President Emmanuel Macron, who tried this year to charm Mr Trump into more harmonious transatlantic relationship, only to see the U.S. president withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and impose tariffs on European goods.

He described the current situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday. "I think it's very inappropriate".

"We are stronger together than apart", Stoltenberg said.

President Donald Trump branded Germany a "captive of Russia" for its support of a Baltic Sea gas pipeline deal this morning (July 11).

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May tried to ease the tensions on Wednesday by announcing additional troops for NATO's Afghan training mission, Reuters reported.

The U.S. does not even spend 4 percent of GDP on defense.

Trump brands Germany a