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Kremlin accuses Trump of bullying Europe

Newshub logoNewshub 12/07/2018

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited The Kremlin has rejected US President Donald Trump's description of Germany as a "captive" of Russia, saying his statement was part of a campaign to bully Europe into buying American energy supplies.

Trump told Germany at a NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday it was wrong to support an $US11 billion ($16.25 billion NZD) Baltic Sea pipeline to import more Russian gas while being slow to meet NATO targets for defence spending.

Trump's comments came ahead of his summit on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, though the Kremlin said they were unlikely to have an impact on what was always going to be a difficult meeting due to the number of disagreements between the two countries.

Russia is keen to press ahead with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline since it has the potential to double its gas exports under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing traditional routes through Ukraine.

However, Washington opposes the project and a spokesman for the US State Department said on Wednesday Western firms invested in the pipeline were at risk of sanctions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Trump's statement marked an escalation of a US campaign to talk down Russian gas supplies to Europe in an attempt to push the US energy sector instead.

"As for Germany's dependence (on Russia) as a major gas buyer we cannot agree with this premise," Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

"Supplies of pipeline gas do not lead to dependence of one country on another but to complete mutual dependence. That is a guarantee of stability and future development."

Peskov said Moscow regarded US objections to the new pipeline as "unfair competition" aimed at trying to force European countries to buy costlier US liquefied natural gas.


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