Duterte would rather stay ‘neutral,’ calls Putin ‘suicidal’
Even after the Philippines voted for a United Nations resolution explicitly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Rodrigo Duterte said he still wanted the country to “stay neutral” in the gravest crisis to grip Europe since World War II and that has rattled the global economy.
In a speech in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur province, on Friday, Duterte said he was praying and keeping his fingers crossed that the geopolitical conflict would not spiral out of control and involve the use of nuclear weapons.
“For me, we stay neutral. But reality tells me that in the end, we’ll just have to select which side we would be,” the President said.
He surmised, without citing any basis, that up to 1,000 nuclear devices were in danger of being used.
“It’s up to them if they kill each other. But I hope they won’t use nuclear devices because we all lose, we too will be involved. So for now, let us just be hopeful, keep our fingers crossed,” he added.
“If it is not controlled, the world is in danger. Once they start to push the button of nuclear warheads or nuclear bomb, well, (as) one commentator said, it will melt the world.”
Duterte made the remarks four days after the Philippines voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution expressing its “explicit condemnation” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which started on February 24.
On Wednesday, Malacañang issued an appeal for an “immediate end to the unnecessary loss of life” between the two nations, while urging Russia and Ukraine to forge a peace accord that will prevent the conflict from affecting the rest of the world.
In Friday’s speech, the President also recalled his previous encounters with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he now described as “suicidal.”
The President visited Russia in 2017 and 2019.
“Americans will never stomach death and destruction. They are afraid. The Americans will not; but you watch out for Putin, he is suicidal,” he said. “If he gets embarrassed, he will really lose it. I realized it when I went to Russia. I had a talk with him on all aspects of life,” he added.
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