Trump, Merkel trade barbs over Russian Federation at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Russian Matryoshka dolls depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are on sale in the Ruslania book store in Helsinki on July 9

Despite Trump's claims about Germany, Merkel served as a forceful advocate for imposing - and maintaining - sanctions on Russian Federation after it annexed Crimea in 2014, arguing that it violated the principles of the worldwide order established after World War II. "Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions".

He added that it's "not fair to the taxpayers of the United States and we're going to make it fair".

And it comes just days before Trump sits down with Putin in Finland at the conclusion of his closely watched European trip.

Mr Trump made more conciliatory remarks on Wednesday after he and Mrs Merkel met on the sidelines of the Brussels summit, saying defence spending and trade had been discussed.

Hannity pointed out that Germany is spending billions of dollars on an energy pipeline between them and Russian Federation, and that the country's former chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, is the one leading the business effort.

In recent months Trump has repeatedly launched invective at America´s partners in the Atlantic alliance, a cornerstone of European security since World War II, accusing them of freeloading on the U.S. for defense. "Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations", Sarah Sanders told reporters A source close to French President Emmanuel Macron also played down Trump's words as rhetoric, saying "it is not a new demand".

Around eight members of the 29-country alliance are expected to reach the 2% target this year.

According to Eurostat, the European Union's main statistics agency, Russian Federation is the source of 25% to 50% of Germany's oil imports and 50% to 75% of its gas imports. So I think the secretary-general likes Trump.

Trump didn't identify Nord Stream 2 by name.

MARTIN: The - notably, Germany's foreign minister, Heiko Maas, had his own reply to all these criticisms from Trump. Opponents state that Trump is furthering Putin's agenda to break up the Western alliance.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders plan to turn their attentions to the conflict in Afghanistan, on the second day of a summit so far dominated by demands from President Donald Trump. "And it can't be explained, and you know that".

Trump's critique referred to the controversial $12 billion proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany.

The former Reagan national security official says the terms of the Baltic Sea gas pipeline deal must be closely monitored. "Will they reimburse the USA?"

Trump's laser-focus on Germany has unsettled Berlin, which had grown accustomed to a strong relationship with President Barack Obama. "President Trump makes public adversaries out of our friends, and turns our adversary, who has been attacking America's democracy, into his fawned-over ally", Kerry said.

Journalists were allowed briefly into the room at the end of their meeting, but both leaders avoided publicly blasting each other face-to-face.

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