Duterte vows ‘fair trial’ for Russians charged with drug smuggling

Pia Ranada

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Duterte vows ‘fair trial’ for Russians charged with drug smuggling
During their meeting, President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev witness the signing of several bilateral documents, including an extradition treaty, and a business deal

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has promised Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that two Russian nationals charged of drug smuggling in the country will get a “fair trial.”

Duterte made the commitment during a bilateral meeting with the Russian leader  on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings on Monday, November 13.

“I would just like to say that we have a working functional justice system here and they will get a fair trial,” Duterte told Medvedev at the Coconut Palace, referring to the cases of Yuri Kirdyushkin and Anastasia Novopashina.

“Whether true or not, we will find out but I will see to it that they are treated fairly and no additional stress on their person that will happen,” he added.

The talk with Medvedev was Duterte’s last bilateral meeting of the day, held at around 10:50 pm.

Duterte began his remarks by thanking Russia for the 5,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles it gave to the Philippine military.

He said soldiers were able to use the same model of guns in Marawi, and one of them even neutralized a top terrorist leader.

“We were able to use the rifles and the arms that you gave us on time….I think it was the sniper model that hit one of those 3 commanders – a certain Malaysian Muhammad – I forgot his entire name,” said Duterte.

Trade was also brought up in their discussion.

The Philippine leader expressed his government’s intention to help Filipino businesses gain more access into the Eurasian market.

He told Medvedev the Philippines only need a “small opening” to reach this market. Duterte suggested an exhibit showcasing Filipino products to Russians and other Eurasians.

“We intend to build a house of – where we can exhibit our products…The Russian people can view what products that we are going to offer,” said Duterte.

Medvedev, whose words were relayed to Duterte through a translator, responded by saying Russian is ready to expand its ties with the Philippines in “all the areas and dimensions including politics and trade economic cooperation, cultural ties.”

However, he made special mention of Russia’s interest in supporting the Philippines’ fight against terrorism. In particular, Russia would like to sell military equipment to the Southeast Asian nation.

“We will keep standing by your side, we’ll keep assisting you in this very important and sensitive theme and along this track of fight against terrorism in the course, like bringing or restoring law and order,” said Medvedev, through a translator.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of 8 bilateral documents, inlcuding an extradition treaty, and a private sector agreement. 

Duterte met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Vietnam on Friday, November 10, where Putin expressed his support for the Philippine leader’s war on drugs and terrorism. (READ: Duterte, Putin eye stronger PH-Russia defense cooperation, trade– Rappler.com



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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.