BRUSSELS, July 11. /TASS/. Berlin has many questions for Moscow and believes that it is important to maintain dialogue, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said, commenting on US President Donald Trump’s statement, in which he said that Germany was "a captive of Russia."
"I don’t know what he means by that," she said. "I hope that the [US] president at their meeting will send a clear signal about our determination and unity following this summit. It is a good thing that they will have a talk," von der Leyen added.
"If we look at our chancellor, she has been having regular contacts with the Russian president for 13 years," the German defense minister went on to say. "We have many questions for Russia but one should maintain dialogue not only with friends but with opponents as well," she added.
US President Donald Trump earlier strongly criticized NATO counties for approving the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. While talking to reporters ahead of a meeting with the NATO secretary general in Brussels, he particularly bashed Germany, calling it "a captive of Russia."
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is scheduled to be put into operation in late 2019. Each of the pipeline’s two stretches will have a capacity of 27.5 bln cubic meters. The pipeline, set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore, is expected to connect the Russian resource base with European customers. The total project cost of the Nord Stream 2 is estimated at €9.9 bln.
The gas pipeline will not cross transit countries such as Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, running through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Russia and Germany have many times stressed that Nord Stream 2 was only a commercial project and was not politically motivated. However, in April, German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned some political factors related to the project’s implementation. According to her, gas transit through Ukraine should continue even after the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is built. Russian President Vladimir Putin said later that the project’s implementation did not imply the end of the Ukrainian gas transit if it proved economically feasible.