MANILA, Philippines – After months of trying to have a conversation, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to each other for the first time on Monday, February 13.
The “first phone call in the history of bilateral relations” with Marcos was announced by Zelenskiy via a tweet.
“[I] thanked him for supporting [the] sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We discussed further deepening of cooperation, in particular on international platforms,” said Zelenskiy of the call.
In a tweet posted hours later on Tuesday, February 14, Marcos said: “I told him that we in the Philippines are watching with admiration, the bravery and the nationalism that has been displayed by the Ukrainians during this crisis and that we join in his effort to reach a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in his country. Mr. President, we are with you in your search for peace.”
The phone call happened a little over a month after Denys Mykhailiuk, charges d’ affaires of the Ukrainian embassy in Malaysia, said they had been trying to facilitate a phone call between Marcos and Zelenskiy, but Malacañang was not responding to their request. A Philippine envoy, in response, said it was “not good diplomatic practice” for the envoy to vent via the media. Mykhailiuk would later apologize.
Marcos claimed they had responded to the request but it was difficult to find a good time for both leaders.
Zelenskiy has been president of Ukraine since 2019. He rose to global prominence in 2022, as he led his country in resisting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Zelenskiy has been rallying allies from all over the world – particularly countries in the Global North – to aide Ukraine in its fight against Russia. – Rappler.com
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