Pence slams Germany’s unacceptable Russia ties, NATO spending
US Vice President has blasted as unacceptable Germany’s dependence on Russian energy and its failure to meet its military spending commitments as a key member of the NATO military alliance.
Iran Press/America: Mike Pence told NATO's 70th anniversary gathering in Washington, DC, on Wednesday that Berlin’s insistence on completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to buy Russian gas was not acceptable and undermined Europe’s security.
"Germany must do more. And we cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on Russia," Pence told the two-day forum, AFP reported.
Pence then repeated a warning by President Donald Trump that Berlin’s reliance on Russian energy would eventually make it a captive of Moscow.
"If Germany persists in building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as President Trump said, it could turn Germany's economy into literally a captive of Russia," Pence said.
The vice president noted that the deal as well as Germany’s reluctance to meet the required military spending levels for all NATO members also undermined Europe’s deterrence power against what he called “Russian aggression.”
"It is simply unacceptable for Europe's largest economy to continue to ignore the threat of Russian aggression and neglect its own self-defense and our common defense," Pence said Wednesday.
Pence also pointed to a parliamentary report on Germany's armed forces, which warned of "glaring deficiencies" in the country’s overall military readiness.
Washington has long taken issue with Germany’s plans to import Russian natural gas through the $11 billion pipeline project, which runs straight under the Baltic Sea.
The pipeline has also been criticized for depriving Ukraine, a staunch US ally, of lucrative gas transit fees.
Trump has repeatedly slammed Germany and other members of the Western alliance for not meeting a goal set by NATO in 2014 for each member state to spend two percent of its GDP on defense. 105