Philippines-Ukraine relations

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy in Manila, meets Philippines’ Marcos for the first time

Dwight de Leon

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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy in Manila, meets Philippines’ Marcos for the first time

HISTORIC VISIT. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Manila on June 3, 2024.

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(2nd UPDATE) Zelenskyy's trip to Manila follows his surprise appearance at a defense forum in Singapore, where he rallied Asia-Pacific nations to support his peace summit on June 15, and accused Russia and China of trying to undermine the upcoming event

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Malacañang on Monday, June 3, a historic meeting that is expected to catch the attention of Russia and China.

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy in Manila, meets Philippines’ Marcos for the first time

Rappler first reported about Zelenskyy’s surprise visit to Manila on Sunday night, June 2, but Malacañang did not confirm his presence in the Philippines or his schedule with Marcos until Monday morning.

“I know that the crisis in your country has occupied all of your attention and all of your time. It is a great pleasure to meet with you to discuss some of the issues that are common to our two countries and hopefully find ways for both of us together,” Marcos said.

“Thank you so much [for] your big word and clear position about us, about this Russian occupation of our territories,” Zelenskyy said in response, adding that Kyiv will open an embassy in Manila later this year.

The meeting lasted only an hour, with the Ukrainian president departing the Philippines by noon.

This is the third Asian country that Zelenskyy has visited since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

He was in Japan for the G7 meetings in May 2023, and just last Saturday, June 1, he arrived in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier defense summit.

During his unannounced appearance at the forum, he criticized Russia and China for allegedly trying to discourage other countries from attending his upcoming international peace summit on June 15 in Switzerland.

“With China’s support to Russia, the war will last longer. That is bad for the whole world,” Zelenskyy said of Beijing, which claims a neutral position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, although it continues to be a major economic lifeline for Moscow.

During the gathering in Singapore, Zelenskyy also urged countries in the Asia-Pacific region to attend his peace summit. On Monday, the Ukrainian leader thanked Marcos for confirming the Philippines’ participation in the event, although Malacañang has yet to announce who is attending on Manila’s behalf.

Marcos was the keynote speaker at the Shangri-La Dialogue, but the two were not able to rub elbows during the conference, as the Philippine president left Singapore late Friday evening, May 31.

Like Zelenskyy, Marcos also put a spotlight on China during his speech at the summit, decrying “illegal, coercive, aggressive, and deceptive actions” in the West Philippine Sea by the world superpower.

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy in Manila, meets Philippines’ Marcos for the first time

In November 2022, Marcos called the war between Russia and Ukraine “unacceptable,” and urged both parties to resolve their issues in a diplomatic manner.

The Philippines has also voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. –

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.