Germany should increase defense spending due to the Russian threat, said US Ambassador to the country Richard Grenell in an interview with Welt am Sonntag.
During the conversation, the journalist inquired whether Grennel considered the increase in defense spending by Germany up to 1.5% of GDP until 2024 (the German authorities called this figure) sufficient.
“Not. NATO asks [to increase spending] to 2% [GDP] by 2024. <...> The United States simply reminds its great ally, Germany, that now is not the time to weaken NATO. It should be clear to everyone that NATO needs to be strengthened when the Russians are on the doorstep, ”answered Grennel.
The ambassador added that Germany has leverage on Russia, which it should use. “Imagine if [chancellor] Angela Merkel gets up and says:“ Because of Russian behavior, because of the increasing hacker activity, we cannot give you [Russia] more influence by buying your energy, ”the diplomat concluded.
In mid-January, the German Foreign Ministry sharply criticized Grenell’s statements, which in a letter to several German companies threatened them with sanctions for participating in the Nord Stream II project. The ambassador himself explained that he only repeated public statements by the American authorities. The German authorities have stressed that they are not going to interfere in the process of building the pipeline, even under external pressure.
Nevertheless, later the German media wrote that the US had stepped up pressure on EU countries in connection with the construction of the gas pipeline and again demanded that the EU “take measures