Outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sharply criticized Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the killings of innocent civilians in Ukraine, saying while the two of them have been tagged as killers, “I kill criminals, I don’t kill children and the elderly.”
Duterte, who openly calls Putin an idol and a friend, voiced his rebuke for the first time over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in remarks aired on Tuesday where he blamed the three-month old war for the spike in global oil prices that has battered many countries, including the Philippines.
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While stressing he was not condemning the Russian president, Duterte disagreed with Putin’s labeling of the invasion as a “special military operation,” and said it was really a full-scale war waged against “a sovereign nation.”
Addressing Putin “as a friend” and the Russian Embassy in Manila, Duterte urged them to stop bombing and firing artillery rounds on residential areas and allow innocent civilians to safely evacuate before launching a bombardment.
“I’m on the way out and I don’t know how to solve the problem,” Duterte said. “You have to solve the war between Ukraine and Russia before we can talk of even returning to normalcy.”
Duterte, who steps down on June 30 when his turbulent six-year term ends, has presided over a brutal anti-drugs crackdown that has left more than 6,000 mostly petty suspects dead.
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