WASHINGTON -- President Trump skipped no beats in Europe on Wednesday.

In his first public remarks at the NATO summit in Brussels, he called out Germany for its economic ties to Russia.

The president then spent the day calling on U.S. allies to spend more on defense spending.

At a breakfast with NATO's secretary general, Trump claimed Germany is "a captive of Russia" because of how much natural gas it imports from there.

The comment was made just hours before the president had a pull-aside meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I've been complaining about this from the time I got in," said Trump, sitting at the breakfast. "It should've never been allowed to have happened. But Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting between 60 and 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that's appropriate? Because I think it's not. And I think it's a very bad thing for NATO. And I don't think it should've happened."

Trump also used the breakfast to repeat his criticism that U.S. NATO allies are not paying their fair share in defense spending.

The president said they should immediately contribute 2 percent of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) -- even though it was previously agreed that that 2 percent mark would be met by 2024.

Then later Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump stated at the summit that allies should increase their spending to 4 percent.

The United States currently spends the most on defense -- about 3.5 percent.

In the days leading up to the NATO summit, Trump consistently tweeted about how unfair he thinks that is.

At their pull-aside meeting on Wednesday, Trump and Merkel exchanged pleasantries.

The president, hours after sharply criticizing Germany, said the U.S. has a "tremendous relationship with Germany."

Merkel modestly agreed: "We are good partners and wish to continue to cooperate."

This is all happening just days before Trump meets one-on-one with Russia President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

Trump said on Tuesday that he felt his meeting with Putin might be the easiest one he has throughout his travels through Europe.

Back in Washington, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted Tuesday night to express support for NATO, 97 to 2.