Asia - Pacific

Outgoing Philippines leader urges Putin to ‘protect innocents’ in Ukraine

Calling Vladimir Putin a ‘friend,' Rodrigo Duterte says this 'is not the way how to fight a war’

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 24.05.2022
Outgoing Philippines leader urges Putin to ‘protect innocents’ in Ukraine

ISTANBUL 

The outgoing president of the Philippines called on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to avoid targeting civilians in Ukraine and ensure that “innocents are protected.”

Addressing a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Rodrigo Duterte insisted he does not condemn Putin but is “just sharing my sentiments” on “not the way how to fight a war.”

At least 3,930 civilians have been killed and 4,532 injured since Russia launched a war on Ukraine on Feb. 24. The true toll is believed to be significantly higher.

At an emergency UN General Assembly meeting this February, the Philippines voted to condemn the war.

Calling Putin his “friend,” Duterte said, “If you’re listening, I’m not picking a quarrel with anybody, Putin is a friend of mine,” stressing the Russia leader’s “moral obligation” to protect civilians, the innocents, children, and the elderly.

He said Russian soldiers are “running amok.”

“Be stricter with your soldiers. They are out of control, killing … even children. Your cannons, don’t fire them at residential areas,” Duterte said, using both English as well as his native Filipino tongue.

Earlier, the outgoing Filipino president, known for his controversial war on drugs in the country, refused to draw parallels with Putin.

“I kill only criminals and not civilians,” he said.

Rights groups have criticized Duterte’s anti-drug efforts, which saw 6,215 people dead as of last October, according to official figures.

Critics put the number as high as 30,000, including those “killed extrajudicially.”

Duterte, president since 2016, was unable to seek a second term under the Constitution. His successor, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., won in elections earlier this month.


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