Philippines pulls out of major deal to buy Russian aircraft, citing fears of US sanctions

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Philippines government has cancelled a deal to purchase 16 Russian military transport helicopters fearing US sanctions.

Philippines’ former defense secretary said the deal to acquire Mi-17 helicopters worth 12.7bn pesos (£189m) was scrapped last month, according to the Associated Press.

Denzil Lorenzana said his decision was approved by then-president Rodrigo Duterte before the end of their terms in office on 30 June.

“We could face sanctions,” he said, explaining about the way in which the US could express its displeasure.

A few months earlier, in March, he had announced that the deal would go through despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We do not see any likelihood of it being scrapped as of this moment” he had said, adding: “only time can tell”.

Mr Lorenzana has been appointed by current president Ferdinand Marcos Jr to head a government agency in charge of transforming former military bases into business hubs.

Jose Manuel Romualdez, Philippines’ envoy to Washington, also said the deal was cancelled due to fears of reciprocation from the US.

He said that Manila could face possible sanctions under a US federal law called the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if the chopper deal with Russia went through.

Since a contract for the deal had already been signed, it would now go through a “termination process”, a Philippines military official said.

The official added that there was little room for Manila to reconsider the deal even though Russia can appeal.

The helicopter purchase deal was signed in November, and the first batch of choppers were meant to be scheduled for delivery by Russia’s Sovtechnoexport in about two years.

According to Philippines officials, the multipurpose choppers could have been used for combat as well as search and rescue operations.

They could have also been used for medical evacuations in the country that is often lashed by typhoons and other natural disasters.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting