Merkel pushes back against Trump's claim that Germany 'controlled' by Russia

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President Trump kicked-off his high-stakes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation negotiations with a sharp critique of Germany's relationship with Russia Wednesday, saying Angela Merkel was "a captive" of the Kremlin over a controversial energy pipeline. "And I am very happy that we are today unified in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany", she said in an arrival statement at the NATO Summit Wednesday, according to an English translation of her remarks. He has demanded that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members contribute more money to the defense alliance that has been the linchpin of the West's post-World War Two military cooperation.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries have agreed to raise military spending by 2024, although Germany and Spain are unlikely to meet the target.

By slapping higher tariffs on European Union metals experts and threatening more on cars, Trump has shown his anger at the US trade deficit with the European Union.

Germany is not a captive of anyone, neither Russian Federation nor the US, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in response to US President Donald Trump's description of his country as a "captive" of Russian Federation. "You tell me if that's appropriate".

The two leaders had a one-on-one meeting later on Wednesday, after which Trump claimed: "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany".

As he departed the White House Tuesday en route to Europe for a summit with fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders, a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and, later, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump said that his meeting with Putin "may be the easiest of them all".

Trump renewed his call for other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to pay in more to the Western alliance after years in which US taxpayers have, he said, borne an "unfair" share of military spending.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday rejected President Trump's assertion that Germany is "totally controlled" by Russian Federation because of an energy deal. She insisted that Germany today makes its decisions independently of Moscow, adding "That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany". He blasted the German government for not spending more on defense, and suggested that a three-year-old energy supply agreement has left Germany "captive" to Russian Federation.

"Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations". The U.S.is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them.

"We're being taken advantage of by the European Union", Trump said.

Trump had "very direct language" but "when it comes to the core message we actually all agree", Stoltenberg later said.

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