Mubasher: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at Germany over a gas pipeline agreement with Russia, which made it beholden to Moscow.
At a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels ahead of the military alliance summit, President Trump claimed that “Germany is a captive to Russia,” noting that “numerous” state members of the organisation made pipeline deals with Moscow.
He complained that the US is expected to defend, while the NATO ally is making “billions of dollars” in energy payments to Moscow, asking the military alliance to assess the situation.
The remarks are likely to ratchet up tensions between Washington and its European allies, given that Trump’s comments came as a striking criticism for a US president to make about a close ally.
Stoltenberg pushed back against Trump’s remarks, maintaining that NATO’s strength lies in the ability of its members to be united under its main task of defending and protecting one another, an argument rejected by Trump.
Germany imports about 94% of its gas supply, with 35% of its imported gas incoming from Russia, 34% from Norway and 29% from the Netherlands in 2015.
However, German gas imports from Russia increased in recent years, while the Nord Stream 2 plans for a new gas pipeline that would bypass Ukraine, a major point through which Russian gas is delivered to Europe, have been in the works for years.
However, the project remains controversial, while Berlin maintains that the new pipeline would ensure more energy security.