President Duterte is one of a handful of ‘strongman’ world leaders to congratulate President Putin on his victory in Russia’s presidential elections.
“President Rodrigo Duterte extends the warmest congratulations of the Filipino people to President Vladimir Putin on his re-election,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement released today (Monday, March 19).
“As he resumes performance of his duties, President Duterte wishes President Putin more success in leading Russia to greater progress and in advancing the cause of peace and security in our region and in the larger international community.”
Since his election, President Duterte has pursued stronger relations with Russia and China, at the expense of traditional ties with the USA.
Also congratulating Putin today were the leaders of China, Venezuela, Egypt, Belarus, Cuba, Kazakhstan and Iran.
However, many countries remained silent amid tensions over the alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Sailsbury, UK, which the British government has blamed on Russia.
Seigei Skripal, a former double-agent in the pay of Britain’s MI6, was found slumped unconscious on March 4 alongside his daughter Yulia, both of whom remain in a coma.
Last week Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that they had been poisoned with a nerve agent called Novichok, which was developed by Russia, and subsequently accused the state of being behind the attempted assassination.
France, Germany and the US then issued a joint statement backing the UK, saying there was “no plausible alternative explanation”. Russia denies any responsibility for the attack.
Despite — or perhaps because of — the furore, Putin won overwhelmingly in yesterday’s elections, which will see him ruling Russia for another six years.
Russia’s Central Election Commission announced that the he took 77 per cent of the vote, amid a reported 67 per cent turnout.
Two senior officials from the Philippine Commission on Elections were among foreign delegations invited to observe the polls.
Below is the statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs on the re-election President Putin:
“President Duterte extends the warmest congratulations of the Filipino people to President Vladimir Putin on his re-election.
“As he resumes performance of his duties, President Duterte wishes President Putin more success in leading Russia to greater progress and in advancing the cause of peace and security in our region and in the larger international community.
“We also look forward to working more closely together to strengthen ASEAN-Russia dialogue relations and to advance our common interests in multilateral fora including the United Nations.”