Philippines-Russia relations

Talks to cancel botched chopper deal with Russia have started, DND says

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Talks to cancel botched chopper deal with Russia have started, DND says

FILE PHOTO. Afghan National Air Corps MI-17 helicopters take off in a formation practice for the aerial parade in the upcoming Afghan National Day in Kabul. Air Force mentors assigned to Defense Reform Directorate Air Division under Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan provide guidance to soldiers with the Maintenance Operations Group for the ANAC.

US Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr./wikimedia commons

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. says the Philippines secured an alternative supply of military helicopters from the United States

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has initiated discussions with Russia to formally terminate the P12.7-billion agreement to purchase 16 military helicopters, the Department of National Defense (DND) said.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte ordered the cancellation of the agreement days before he stepped down from office in June 2022, over fears of possible US sanctions.

Following this, Russian ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov said the agreement was still valid because Moscow has yet to receive a formal notice of termination from Manila. He said Russia was ready to fulfill its obligations with the Southeast Asian country.

DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong, however, said the Philippines has initiated talks with the Russian contractor, Sovtechnoexport, but it has yet to move forward.

“There’s already an exchange of communications between the two parties but there is no further progress… What was basically done was we stated our position and they (Russians) stated their position, but there is still no concrete way forward,” Andolong said on Thursday, October 20.

Asked for his position, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. backed the Duterte administration’s decision to cancel the purchase, adding that the government would now negotiate to get back part of the downpayment it made to the Russian manufacturer.

In August, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said the Philippines made an initial payment of some $38 million. He said it was “prudent” for the Duterte government to have called off the deal “because it can save us a lot of trouble.”

“The deal as it stood maybe at the beginning or in the middle of last year, has already been cancelled and we have, as I said, secured another alternative supply for those helicopters that we need,” Marcos told reporters on Thursday.

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The Philippine leader cited the United States as an alternative source of choppers, adding that these would be manufactured in Poland.

The DND entered into a government-to-government contract with Russia in November 2021 for the delivery of the helicopters. It was later terminated in June out of fear of American sanctions, in line with a law that bans countries from purchasing Russian military hardware. –

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