Duterte on Russia-Ukraine conflict: We stay neutral until time to choose sides
MANILA, Philippines — While President Rodrigo Duterte believes that the Philippines has to stay neutral, the country may have to choose sides “in the end” amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Duterte expressed hopes that the conflict between the two European countries “will not really go out of control” as he expressed fears of the impact should it escalates into a nuclear war.
“‘Pag hindi ito nakontrol, delikado ang mundo. Once they start to push the button of nuclear warheads or nuclear bombs, sabi nga ng isang commentator, it will melt the world,” Duterte said in a speech in Ilocos Sur.
(If this goes out of hand, the world will be at peril.)
“Ako naman, we stay neutral [For me, we should stay neutral]. But reality tells me that in the end, we’ll just have to select which side we will be [on]. Bahala na yung magpatayan sila doon, huwag lang magamit ng nuclear device because talo na tayong lahat. Pati tayo damay [Let them do whatever they want, even to the extent of killing each other, as long as they don’t use nuclear device because all of us will lose, everyone is affected],” he added.
Duterte had a “special meeting” with the military, police and some Cabinet members to discuss the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Meanwhile, Acting presidential spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles earlier said that the safety of Filipinos in Ukraine is the primary concern of Duterte, noting that the government has set in place efforts to repatriate Filipinos there.
Since sitting in office, Duterte has visited Russia twice. In 2017, Duterte had to cut his trip short in light of the war in Marawi City. The President then visited Russia again in 2019 for the Valdai forum.