19:19 GMT +321 September 2018
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    German Justice Minister Heiko Maas

    Germany Guarantor of Free World, Not Hostage of Russia or US - German FM

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    US President Donald Trump claimed earlier in the day at the NATO summit that Germany was "a captive" to Russia and stressed that Berlin "only makes Russia richer."

    "We are not prisoners, neither of Russia nor of the United States. We are one of the guarantors of the free world and that will stay that way," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on the sidelines of a NATO summit.

    He went on noting that the country's defense spending will rise by 80 percent, "which should be recognized as big."

    Foreign Minister's statement comes after Trump's earlier announcement that Russia has a full control of Germany now due to its heavy reliance on Russian gas supplies. The president also called the fact that Germany pays billions for Russian gas and plans to build a new Nord Stream 2 pipeline "completely unacceptable," as the United States should defend it as an ally in NATO, spending on defense disproportionately more than Berlin.

    READ MORE: Trump Aims to Make Disaster of NATO Summit, Sow Discord in Europe — US Senator

    The US has sided with some EU countries' resentment over Moscow-initiated Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, citing concerns over allegedly increased Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas. Poland, in particular, has already attempted to thwart the construction of the pipeline, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asking then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to make sure that US sanctions cover Nord Stream 2 and that European companies involved in the project be fined.

    However, some other European countries have a different view on the project. Germany allowed Russia’s Gazprom to build and operate the Nord Stream 2 in the country’s territorial waters, with the Chancellor Angela Merkel stressing that the pipeline is an economic project. 

    Russia, in turn, has repeatedly urged not to politicize Nord Stream 2, which is a purely commercial project, according to Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

    Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russia’s Gazprom with France's Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, which aims to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year to the European Union across the Baltic Sea to Germany.

    READ MORE: Russia's "Aggressive Actions" Undermine Euro-Atlantic Security — NATO

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    Tags:
    agreement, pipeline, gas, Nord Stream-2, NATO Summit, NATO, Heiko Maas, Donald Trump, EU, Russia, Germany, United States
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