North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit continues after delirious first day

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The pipeline would link Russian Federation and Germany via the Baltic Sea, doubling the capacity of the existing pipeline in that corridor, and bypassing other pipelines through Ukraine and central and eastern Europe. He said nations have been increasing their contribution each year, even as they have taken a hit to their own economies by putting in place tough sanctions against Russian Federation for its behaviour in Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump talk during a family photo ahead of the opening ceremony of the NATO summit, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on July 11, 2018.

"It's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year from Russia", Trump said at the time.

The defense minister agreed with Trump about defense spending.

"We are talking about trade, we have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany", Trump said with Merkel sitting at his side.

The U.S. president has been the source of concern for many European allies, in and out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, with European Council President Donald Tusk warning Trump Tuesday to "appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many", and reminding that "America does not have, and will not have a better ally than Europe".

Baltic leaders fearful of any repeat of Russia's annexation of Crimea called for unity as they arrived at the summit, while Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska said his country was "one of the good guys" because he was increasing defense spending.

"I'm very pleased to have this opportunity for this exchange about the economic future and migration and the future of trade relations", Merkel said.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit: Trump urges members urged to double defence spending
Trump asserted earlier Wednesday that Germany is "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia " because of a pipeline project. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill that " NATO is indispensable".

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"Instead, President Trump just insults friends who have sacrificed to hold that pressure together".

"We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk", a spokesman for the US State Department told Reuters.

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism.

Referring to the 97-2 vote Tuesday in the U.S. Senate affirming its support for NATO, Kerry called on Republican lawmakers to call Trump on his actions.

"If Russia's economy falters, Vladimir Putin is finished", Hannity said.

Trump will meet the Russian leader in Helsinki on 16 July for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the United States into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

Yet Mr. Trump's warnings about the pipeline's strategic dimension would be more persuasive if he weren't also as busy as Mr. Schröder playing down the strategic threat posed by Mr. Putin. "On that point the American friends have a point", von der Leyen said.

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