Trump proclaims 'Captive Nations Week' days after saying Germany is 'captive' to Russia

Trump proclaims 'Captive Nations Week' days after saying Germany is 'captive' to Russia
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE on Friday declared that next week will be “Captive Nations Week,” just days after he claimed that Germany was “captive” to Russia.

Trump, in his proclamation of the annual event, said the U.S. stands “in solidarity with those who continue to suffer under governments that stifle basic freedoms and deny the opportunity to build a better life.”

“The United States stands with the repressed and continues to encourage despotic regimes to turn away from authoritarianism and respect the God-given rights of life and liberty,” he added.

Trump made headlines earlier this week when he targeted Germany at the start of the NATO summit, claiming the country was “captive to Russia” over a gas pipeline deal.

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"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia," Trump said Wednesday at a meeting with the NATO secretary-general.

"If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply," Trump continued. "They got rid of their coal plants. They got rid of their nuclear. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it's something that NATO has to look at. I think it's very inappropriate."

Trump appeared to be referring to a deal between Germany and Russia that would bring gas directly from Russia to northern Germany.

Trump faced criticism from the remarks, including from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union," Merkel said. "I'm very glad that today we are united in freedom ... because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions."

In Friday's proclamation, the president cited the tearing down in 1989 of the Berlin Wall as a “defining moment for freedom.”

The third week of July has been designated as “Captive Nations Week” since 1959.