The Philippines confirmed the $ 228 million contract to buy 16 Russian military helicopters, seemingly due to concerns about the US sanctions.

We are officially transforming the process of terminating the contract with the Russian side, the Philippine Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong today said that mentioning the Mi-17 military helicopter purchase agreement.


Photo: AFP.

Andolong said that changes in priorities due to global political developments led to its predecessor government to cancel the contract, but did not specify the US sanctions on Russia.

The Russian Embassy in Manila has not commented on this information.

Delfin Lorenzana, Minister of Defense under President Rodrigo Duterte, in March, said that the Philippines in November 2021 signed a 12.7 billion PESO contract (US $ 228 million) to buy Russia's Mi-17 helicopter to be modern to be modern.

According to Lorenzana, the contract was signed before the Ukrainian war broke out and the Philippines paid a deposit.

Russia's Mi-17 helicopter supports Russia-Turkey patrol near the town of al-Jawadiyah, Syria, in December 2020.

However, Lorenzana, currently at the top of another government agency, last week said that Duterte himself decided to cancel the agreement in the last days of his term because of concerns of US sanctions against Russia.

I don't know if I can get a deposit back, because we are the contract termination, Lorenzana told the reporter.

The Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Romualdez recently said the decision to cancel the contract related to the Ukrainian war.

The US will provide replacement helicopters to meet our needs, Mr. Romualdez said.

The Philippines started the military modernization program in 2012. After President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Russia's Mi-17 helicopter can be used in combat, search and rescue activities, as well as medical evacuation in the Philippines, the country often suffers from storms and other natural disasters.

The Russian side may complain the process of termination of the contract, but the Philippine government is less likely to change its mind.

After Russia opened a military campaign in Ukraine in late February, the US and its allies imposed a series of sanctions on a large scale to cut Moscow from the global financial system and restrict Russia's foreign currency revenue.

The Philippine Defense Minister Duterte canceled a $ 227 million contract to buy Mi-17 helicopter from Russia due to concerns that the US was punished.