US President Donald Trump. AFP

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he sees his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as a “competitor”, not an “enemy”, days before they meet for a high-stakes summit.

“Someone said ‘is he an enemy?’ No, he’s not my enemy. Is he your friend? No, I don’t know him well enough, but the couple of times I’ve gotten to meet him we got on very well.

“But ultimately he’s a competitor. He’s representing Russia, I’m representing the United States,” Trump added. “Hopefully some day he’ll be a friend, I just don’t know.”

Trump told reporters during a press conference on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels that he would be discussing the civil war in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, as well as allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.