Donald Trump says Germany is 'totally controlled by Russia' at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

President Donald Trump and Melania Trump walks down the stairs during their arrival on Air Force One at Melsbroek Air Base Tuesday

Backing up a step, however, it may be premature to write off the German-American or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance as some pundits have already been speculating about, said Jessica Gienow-Hecht, a historian of global relations at Berlin's Free University.

While he then went over the top in saying "Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Mr. Trump's rant is an accurate summary of Berlin's role in the Nord Stream 2 project.

"Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!", he tweeted last month before tearing into the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its former director James Comey. Germany is the largest economy in the EU.

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

"Explain that. And it can't be explained", Trump said. Despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel's tough talk over Russia's annexation of Crimea and sponsorship of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, she has defended the $11 billion pipeline deal to supply her country's energy shortfall.

"We've got to do more".

But Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters she had "experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union" and said her country today made "independent policies" and "independent decisions".

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"The point she's making is that you can see the list of activities she points to, the way Russian Federation are behaving, and she's saying firstly that it's important that there's a price to pay for this, and we work together as allies to make sure that's enforced".

Expectations are high in Russian Federation that Putin, with more than 18 years of global experience, will have the edge on Trump, who had not held elected office before he was inaugurated last year. "I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart", he told the president, trying to calm tensions.

Of Nato's 29 members, just five meet that target this year: the US, Greece, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Latvia. "And gas from Russian Federation to Germany is where the allies disagree". The U.S. intelligence community, backed by a Republican-led Senate panel, has definitively concluded that Kremlin meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump win.

"But I have to bring it up because I think it's very unfair to our country, it's very unfair to our taxpayer", he said.

Despite Russia's semi-pariah status among some Americans and US allies, the Kremlin has always been trying to arrange a summit, betting that Putin and Trump will get on well and stop a sharp downwards spiral in bilateral ties. And I think the answer to that question is yes, including in Latvia, big time.

How did leaders respond to Trump's tirade? "We're protecting everybody", he said.

The president received a lot of attention and criticism today when he started the summit with America's allies in Brussels by attacking Germany in the middle of a photo-op.

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