Trump's withdrawal of troops from Germany will play into Putin's hands, warn UK Conservatives
- Donald Trump's move to withdraw 9,500 US troops from Germany is 'a dangerous game' which could hand Russia a geopolitical advantage, British politicians have warned.
- "Weakening Nato in the hope this will lead to increased German defence is a dangerous game which plays into Russia's hands," said Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood.
- Another Conservative MP, Tom Tugendhat, said the move would mean that European nations would be encouraged "to listen less to the US" while he was in power.
- Senior US officials were reportedly blindsided by Trump's order to the Pentagon to remove troops from Germany.
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Donald Trump's plan to withdraw thousands of US troops from Germany is "a dangerous game" which could "play into Russia's hands," the chair of the British parliament's defence committee has sai.
Trump has reportedly ordered the Pentagon to remove a quarter of the US troops who are currently stationed in Germany under a longstanding NATO agreement. The plan has yet to be officially confirmed.
Tobias Ellwood, a senior Conservative politician who chairs the UK Parliament's Defence Select Committee warned on Monday that any attempt to remove troops from Germany would play into Putin's hands.
"Weakening NATO in the hope this will lead to increased German defence is a dangerous game which plays into Russia's hands," he told the Guardian.
Another Conservative Member of Parliament, Tom Tugendhat, said the move would mean that European nations would be encouraged "to listen less to the US" while he was in power.
Senior US officials were blindsided by Trump's order to the Pentagon to remove troops from Germany, according to a Reuters report.
The unnamed senior official claimed that the move was the result of months of work, and unrelated to Angela Merkel's decision to nix an in-person G7 meeting of world leaders this month.
But other sources told the Guardian that officials at the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon were surprised by the decision, and speculated that it was influenced by a number of factors, including Merkel's G7 decision.
The Trump administration has also been reportedly frustrated with Germany's failure to spend 2% of its GDP on defence, a NATO target.
It comes after Jens Stoltenberg, Nato's Secretary-General, spoke to Trump on the phone on Monday and said they discussed "the importance of keeping NATO strong in an increasingly competitive world."
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