News 12 july — 11:43

Trump Nato: New war of words with Merkel

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US President Donald Trump has clashed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over Russian influence and defence spending, ahead of a Nato summit, BBC reports.

Mr Trump said Germany was "totally controlled by Russia" because of the high level of natural gas it imported, and this was a "bad thing for Nato".

Mrs Merkel hit back, comparing German independence now with the time when she grew up in the former East Germany.

She also defended her country's contribution to the Western alliance.

The last summit both leaders attended ended in acrimony in a row over trade. Mr Trump later made more conciliatory remarks after he and Mrs Merkel had met on the sidelines of the summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

The summit comes less than a week before Mr Trump is due to hold his first summit with Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki, reviving concerns among US allies over his proximity to the Russian president.

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