The Philippines has canceled a deal to buy Russian helicopters

Manila, a longtime ally of Washington, agreed in November to pay $12.7 billion to modernize its military equipment. pesos ($228 million) for Mi-17 helicopters. Russia Since the invasion of Ukraine in February, the United States and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow aimed at cutting off Russia from the global financial system and reducing Moscow’s ability to finance the war.

The Philippine Defense Department is “formalizing the termination of the contract,” spokesman Arsenio Andolong said Wednesday. According to him, “the change in priorities was forced by the development of global political events, which led to the cancellation of the project by the previous administration.”

According to Defense Department officials, the Philippines paid a deposit for the transport helicopters before the war in Ukraine began and the deal was going ahead. However, in the final days of his administration, Duterte decided to cancel the deal due to the threat of sanctions. For now, the Philippines doesn’t know if it will be able to get the money back “because we were the ones who terminated the contract,” said Delfin Lorenzana, the Philippines’ former national defense secretary under Duterte.

Officials from the Russian Embassy in Manila could not be reached on Wednesday.

The Philippines’ ambassador to Washington, Jose Romualdez, recently told AFP that the decision to cancel the deal was prompted by “the war in Ukraine.” According to Mr. Romualdez, Manila is also worried about not violating the 2017 agreement. of a US law passed to sanction business dealings with Russia’s intelligence or defense sectors. The United States is offering “alternative helicopters to meet our needs,” he added.

in 2012 Manila embarked on a modest military modernization program. So far, its equipment has included helicopters from the Vietnam War and ships used by the US during World War II. June 30 when President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. came to power, the new government reviewed the deal with Russia and made the same decision as Duterte.

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