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No response from Philippines as Kyiv reaches out to talk about Russian war

REUTERS

UKRAINE had been seeking to arrange a phone call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to discuss the war against Russia.

The European country, which Russia invaded in February 2022, had been seeking the call since Mr. Marcos took office in June, Denys Mykhailiuk, counsellor of the Ukraine Embassy in Malaysia, told reporters on Wednesday via Zoom. “We haven’t gotten a reply from the presidential office yet.”

The embassy first contacted the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on June 1 and it had followed up twice a month since then, he added.

“We do understand that the priority for the Philippine government is to contact neighboring countries, and we’ve seen the very fruitful visit to China,” Mr. Mykhailiuk said. But a dialogue between the two leaders would help boost ties, he added.

DFA did not immediately reply to a WhatsApp message seeking comment.

The envoy said government officials might have been busy with local administration and in trying to connect with China and the United States.

“We quite understand that, but since all contacts have already been made, we expect that the position of the president about our situation, about our war is already settled,” he said. “We hope that anytime soon, they’ll be ready to have a phone call with the president.”

The counsellor thinks the Philippines could support Ukraine in many areas. “We are also running out of our military arsenal and we would be thankful for any ammunition or any military help in this respect,” he said.

“We do understand that the Philippines is quite far from the battlefield,” the envoy said. “But any help with medical equipment and sanitary goods needed for the displaced would be great.”

He also said Ukraine is a good investment destination for Filipino companies, particularly in agriculture and energy.

Mr. Mykhailiuk said Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Marcos could also talk about Ukraine’s peace formula, which the Ukrainian leader had first pitched at the G20 Bali Summit in November as part of a plan to restore peace.

Of the 10 points under the peace plan, Mr. Mykhailiuk said the Philippines might be interested in radiation and nuclear safety, food security, the implementation of United Nations (UN) charter and restoration of justice.

The counselor said the UN General Assembly resolution would have been out by Feb. 23. A conference will be held to present the peace plan to choose countries that will support the agenda.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Marcos said there was no need to stand in the war between Russia and Ukraine. After becoming president, he said the war between them was unacceptable.

Ukraine is seeking to end its war with Russia next year, Mr. Mykhailiuk said. “According to the general estimates, we’ll be ready to regain control of our territory by the middle of next year,” he added, citing Russia’s supposed dying military strength.

“As of now, Russia has lost 110,000 people, so they have lost a significant quantity of modern warfare,” he said. “They have lost 4,000 modern tanks.”

“What they are using now… are deposits from the Soviet arsenal which were made in the ‘60s. Their only resource… is their manpower. These people are coming to Ukraine to die.”

Moscow has ended a self-declared cease-fire in observance of Russia and Ukraine’s Orthodox Christmas, vowing to continue the war until it wins it. Ukraine and its allies had rejected the truce, saying it was pitched to buy time to bring equipment and ammunition while mobilizing military. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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