US President Donald Trump has hit out at Germany, denouncing it as a "captive" of Russia, as he ramped up demands for Nato allies to pay more for collective defence.
Arriving in Brussels for a two-day Nato summit, Mr Trump said it was "totally inappropriate" that Germany was paying billions to Russia for oil and gas while spending little more than 1pc of its GDP on defence.
He said the deal to build a new pipeline meant Germany was now "totally controlled" by Moscow.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hit back, saying that having experienced life in Soviet-controlled former East Germany, she was glad they could now "determine our own policies".
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is preparing to host Mr Trump on a visit to the UK today, was at pains to stress Britain's "steadfast" commitment to the alliance, announcing the deployment of 440 more troops to Afghanistan.
The president launched his tirade against Germany during a meeting yesterday ahead of the main summit with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.
"I think it is very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia," he said.
"We are supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.
"We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all of these countries, and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia ... I think that is very inappropriate."
Mr Stoltenberg appeared to be taken aback by Mr Trump's onslaught, insisting other member states were committed to paying more, while acknowledging the need to go further.
Despite this, Mr Trump has decided to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki after his visit to Britain.