US President Donald Trump said he does not understand why the US should defend Germany from Russia.
“Germany pays Russia billions of dollars a year for Energy, and we are supposed to protect Germany from Russia. What’s that all about?” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, commenting on Washington’s decision to pull part of the US contingent out of Germany.
He also reproached Berlin for not spending sufficient amount of funds to support NATO’s collective defense.
“Also, Germany is very delinquent in their 2% fee to NATO. We are therefore moving some troops out of Germany!” he tweeted.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced that the US would pull 11,900 troops out of Germany. He said that the US would bring about 6,400 forces home and relocate about 5,600 troops to Italy and Belgium. The US will keep no more than 25,000 servicemen in Germany.
Trump announced on June 15 that Washington would reduce the number of US troops in Germany from 34,500 to 25,000 unless Berlin agreed to pay for their deployment and raise defense spending in accordance with NATO agreements.
Trump has repeatedly demanded that all NATO countries spend at least two percent of their gross domestic products on defense. The US president confirmed on June 24 that Washington planned to move some troops from Germany to Poland. Esper and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley presented the final troop withdrawal plan to Trump on June 29.