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

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U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.

"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations", she said. "Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all", Trump said Tuesday before departing for Brussels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel later responded defiantly, saying: "I've experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union and I'm very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that's very good". So I think the secretary-general likes Trump.

Trump has been berating the alliance in the run-up to the meeting, both in speeches and on Twitter.

Pointing out that Germany is the second largest provider of troops in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation operations, she added: "Germany contributes a lot".

"It's going to be an interesting time in the United Kingdom, and it's certainly going to be an interesting time with NATO", Trump told reporters at the White House today before leaving for Brussels.

Schumer's warning comes a day after Trump said his easiest meeting on his foreign trip to Europe over the next week could be his sit-down with Putin. On 17 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump is demanding that Germany drop Nord Stream 2 as one of the conditions for a trade deal with Europe that would not include high tariffs on steel and aluminium. He asked Stoltenberg to explain why Berlin was getting energy from Moscow, and asserted that Germany was "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" over a pipeline project.

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German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen dismissed Trump's comments, saying Germany is not captive to Russian Federation and the country can take Trump's criticisms in stride.

A joint declaration said: "We are committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership".

"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 Russian Federation where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russian Federation".

"We're protecting Germany. We're protecting France. They have to step it up immediately", Trump said.

USA officials have told Reuters Washington is preparing another review of strategy, a year after Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend involvement in the 17-year-old war. Trump plans to meet one-on-one with Merkel, when he will reiterate the same tough message to her face, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

The Trump administration is now trying to derail a German-Russian project to double the capacity of the underwater Nord Stream gas pipeline.

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