Russian President Vladimir Putin sees US President Donald Trump as, first and foremost, a negotiation counterpart, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on Trump’s statement that Putin is neither a friend nor an enemy, but a competitor for him.
"[Putin sees Trump as] the President of the United States, a counterpart in the negotiations scheduled for Monday," the Kremlin spokesman said.
Earlier, during the press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the American leader expressed hope that Putin might become his friend someday. "He [Putin] is representing Russia. I’m representing the United States. So in a sense we’re competitors, not a question of friend or enemy," Trump stated. "He’s not my enemy. Hopefully some day, maybe he’ll be a friend."
Trump and Putin will meet on July 16 in Helsinki. During his press conference, US President said that he aims to discuss the situation in Syria and Ukraine, as well as Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election.