Russia urges: Honor chopper deal

The Russian Embassy in Manila on Thursday stressed that the Philippines should honor its military helicopter deal with Russia, a contract that was recently scrapped due to fear of possible sanctions from the United States.

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov insisted that since the announcement of the cancellation of the deal by certain Philippine government officials was made in August, the Russian government has not received a formal notice of cancellation.

“Officially speaking, the Embassy didn’t receive any official communication through the very known channel, for example, the diplomatic note. We didn’t receive any note,” Pavlov said.

He also lamented that the Russian contractor has fulfilled its obligation in the contract by completing the manufacturing of at least one of the 16 16 Mi-17 helicopters.

“We are ready to fulfill all our obligations as a reliable partner of the Philippine side in the field of technical military cooperation and we consider that it will also be done by the Philippines,” Pavlov said.

To recall, former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed he terminated the contract upon the order of former President Rodrigo Duterte over the possible impact of several sanctions imposed on Russia due to the Ukraine war.

In August, Manila Ambassador to Washington Jose Romualdez announced that the move was made to avoid possible US sanctions linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pavlov, meantime, said that the fully assembled helicopter is ready for delivery since June.

“Because we received the amount of the money, therefore (we’re) fulfilling all the contractual obligations,” Pavlov said.

The Russian envoy also expressed hope that the new administration under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will reconsider the deal based on its “independent foreign policy”,

However, Pavlov reiterated that they will “wait” for the official note from the Philippine government regarding the issue.

Earlier this week, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson announced that the US State Department has notified its Congress to make available $100 million in foreign military financing to support the Philippines’ defense modernization program.

Carlson said that the Philippine government could use the offer to “offset” future military helicopter purchases, adding that the United State would not dictate the modernization efforts within the Department of National Defense.

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