Trump claims he sent Merkel 'little white flag of surrender' when she signed gas deal with Putin

The former US President said Angela Merkel “surrendered to Russia” by letting a Kremlin-linked energy company fund the Nord Stream 2 project

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Donald Trump has claimed he sent former German Chancellor Angela Merkel a white flag when she made the deal with Vladimir Putin on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

The former US President said Mrs Merkel “surrendered to Russia” by allowing state-owned energy giant Gazprom put up half the costs to fund the $11bn (£8.4bn) project.

The pipeline, completed last September, runs 1,200km under the Baltic sea and combined with Nord Stream 1, has the potential to provide over a quarter of the gas used by EU countries.

This means the pipelines make many Western countries dependent on Russian supplies, creating what Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called, "a dangerous political weapon".

Mr Trump declared in a podcast he foresaw the potential consequences of the pipeline deal.

He said: “I preached loud and clear to Angela Merkel, you are making a tremendous deal by making this deal with Russia, with Nord Stream 2. And until I came along, no one knew what Nord Stream 2 was.

“I was telling her loud and clear — and publicly — and in fact, I sent her something as a little gift. It was a white flag. It was a flag of surrender. She said 'But what is this?' I said, "That's a flag of surrender",” he continued on the Full Send Podcast.

In the days leading up to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz halted the approval process of Nord Stream 2 to condemn Russia’s military threats.

As a result of the decision, gas prices have soared and sparked fears among countries globally that they could be hit by an economic shock bigger than the 1973 oil crisis.