Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for providing his government with weapons that may have been deployed to suppress Islamic militants in Marawi.
“I want to pass on words of thanks from the Philippine people for the timely aid that Russia provided by giving us trucks and weapons,” Duterte said on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit, according to Rappler.
Duterte was meeting with Putin for the first time since May.
The Philippine leader praised the caliber of “high-precision” Russian weapons and their use in a new type of warfare involving snipers and fights that would take place “house-by-house” in Marawi City.
“The weapons we received from Russia, modern weapons, were given to special police regiments. That was very important. I intend to continue buying these weapons in the future,” Duterte said.
The Philippine president also said his government opted for Russian weapons because U.S. weapons were harder to procure.
“The United States has equal authority of Congress and president, so it was not so simple,” Duterte said.
In a separate statement on Thursday, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Duterte will endorse globalization and regional economic integration, policies that have also been promoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade deal that included several APEC member states, earlier this year.
At APEC on Friday, Trump also said the United States will no longer “be taken advantage of” through trade agreements, but also called for mutually beneficial trade deals.
By Elizabeth Shim