Trump Calls Germany A 'Captive' Of Russia

He also called for increased military spending from NATO members.

What you need to know
  • Donald Trump has accused Germany of relying on Russia too much
  • Trump called on NATO nations to double their defence spending
  • Angela Merkel said she is proud that Germany is a united country that makes its own policies

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- U.S. President Donald Trump accused Germany on Wednesday of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance, before a NATO summit where he pressed allies to more than double defense spending.

Having lambasted NATO members for failing to reach a target of spending two percent of national income on defense, Trump told fellow leaders in Brussels he would prefer a goal of four percent, similar to U.S. levels, officials said.

That would represent a massive upheaval of budgetary priorities in Europe where Germany and many others have pledged only to reach two percent by 2024 or later, and it was not clear what allies would spend the money on.

At the end of the first session of a two-day summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the aim first was to reach two percent, but moments later Trump tweeted that allies were undercutting the United States on trade and needed to immediately up spending.

The exchange was part of an uncomfortable day as anxious Western allies were subjected to the U.S. president’s “America first” approach. His comment that Germany was controlled by Russia earned a rebuke from Berlin.

“We are not prisoners, neither of Russia nor of the United States,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.