Ukraine appeals to Philippines: Stop deals with Russia

·3 min read
SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 3, 2019: The Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting at the Polyana 1389 Hotel. Mikhail Metzel/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 3, 2019: The Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting at the Polyana 1389 Hotel. Mikhail Metzel/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images)

Ukraine has called for the Philippines’ business community to stop business dealings with Russia due to its invasion of the Eastern European country, which has taken the lives of individuals and caused massive destruction of homes.

“We call upon the Philippines business community to stop any business dealing with Russia, as every dollar earned by Russia will be used, directly or indirectly, to continue the criminal war in Ukraine,” non-resident Ukraine Ambassador Olexander Nechytaylo said in a statement on Wednesday (March 9).

Nechytaylo said that the Russian invasion has taken the lives of thousands of civilians including dozens of children as well as caused massive destruction of homes and critical infrastructure.

“We call to join ethically and socially responsible global businesses, which have already stopped or suspended operations with or in the Russian Federation, refusing to finance Russian violence, murders and crimes against humanity with their taxes. Don’t be a part of the crime, stop doing business on the blood now!” he added.

According to the ambassador, Ukraine has been facing an unprecedented escalation of military aggression that has rapidly developed from occupying Ukrainian land. The current invasion has already hit critical infrastructure by missile strikes and has bombed peaceful residential blocks, causing mass casualties of civilians and breaking all possible rules and principles of international and humanitarian law.

“Russian political leadership, military and diplomats bear direct responsibility for the multiple atrocities and vicious war crimes against Ukrainians,” Nechytaylo said.

In May 2021, the Philippines celebrated its 45th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Russia, reportedly exploring opportunities in the areas of vaccine, defense, space, and energy cooperation.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday that the government will proceed with a deal to purchase 17 military transport helicopters from Russia that was signed in November 2021 and were partially paid for in January.

Lorenzana said that they do not see any likelihood of the P12.7 billion contract being scrapped as of the moment.

The first batch of the multipurpose helicopters will be delivered by Russia’s Sovtechnoexport about 2 years after President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends in June. The helicopters can be used for combat, search and rescue operations, and medical evacuations, officials said.

However, groups have slammed the government for overfunding the military, only to attack, threaten, and harass progressives.

On Monday, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and partners from the European national chambers condemn and express their deepest regret to the military aggression brought upon Ukraine by the Russian President Putin,” ECCP said in a statement.

The ECCP supports the calls for the ending of the use of force against Ukraine, and expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they fight for their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

“The attacks against Ukraine do not only threaten the security of its people, but also pose a tremendous threat to the global economy,” ECCP said. “Rebound on world economies inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic will likewise be disrupted by the near-term inflation pressures globally brought about by the war against Ukraine.”

Duterte has already expressed concern over the global impact of the Russian invasion but is yet to personally condemn it. The strongman has nurtured close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he once called his “idol.”

In 2019, Philippine and Russian firms signed 10 trade and investment agreements amounting to P658 million ($12.6 million) during President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Moscow.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. The views expressed are her own.

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