Duterte: ‘Watch out for Putin, he is suicidal’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said people should “watch out for Putin” because “he is suicidal.”
Duterte is referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is currently waging what he calls “special military operations” in Ukraine – although Ukrainians describe it as an “attack.”
Duterte, who is in Ilocos Sur on Friday for the inauguration of the Narvacan Farmer’s Market, recalled during his speech the statement he made six years ago about Russia.
As for the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, Duterte said the Philippines has to stay neutral while also admitting that the country may have to choose sides “in the end.” A few days ago, however, the Philippines voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution expressing its “explicit condemnation” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that started on February 24.
“I made a statement six years ago before I became a President. Tinanong ako (I was asked) about Russia… sabi ko (I said), the Americans will never stomach death and destruction. Takot sila (They are afraid)… But you watch out for Putin, he is suicidal,” Duterte said.
“Kaya ‘pag mapahiya siya dito, magwawala ‘yan (So if he gets embararassed by this conflict, he will lose it). And I realized it when I went to Russia. I had a talk with him on all aspects of life, sabi nya na, magkaibigan tayo (he said that we are friends). Sabi ko (I said), ‘wala akong away sayo’ (I have no clash with you),” he added.
In the same speech, Duterte said he hopes that the conflict between the two European nations”will not really go out of control” as he expressed fears about the impact should it escalate to a nuclear war.
“‘Pag hindi ito nakontrol, delikado ang mundo (If this is not controlled, the world will be in danger). Once they start to push the button of nuclear warheads or nuclear bombs, sabi nga ng isang commentator (as one commentator said), it will melt the world,” the President said.
Duterte earlier had a “special meeting” with the military, police, and some Cabinet members to discuss the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.
During his term, Duterte visited Russia twice. In 2017, however, Duterte had to cut his trip short due to the skirmish that erupted in Marawi City between government troops and the ISIS-inspired Maute Group. The President then visited Russia again in 2019 for the Valdai forum.