German minister warns Trump against unilateral deals with Putin
President Donald Trump speaks during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has warned U.S. President Donald Trump against making any unilateral deals with Russia that come with a cost for the United States’ Western allies.

Trump, who meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland on Monday, this week accused Germany of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance, before a NATO summit where he pressed allies to more than double defense spending.

On Thursday, Trump described Putin as a “competitor” rather than an “enemy” and said he expected they would get on well when they hold their first summit in Helsinki. Trump also said the meeting with Putin may be the easiest on his Europe trip.

Maas welcomed the meeting, at which the U.S. president has said he will raise the issue of nuclear weapons reduction.

“We have always said that we need dialogue with Russia. That’s why it’s good if Washington and Moscow talk to each other,” Maas told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “It would be a step forward if this meeting also provided impetus for nuclear disarmament.”

But Maas added: “He who offends his partners, risks losing in the end. Unilateral deals at the expense of one’s own partners also harm the U.S. in the end.”