Philippines cancel deal to buy 16 Russian helicopters

The Philippines canceled the deal with Russia for the purchase of 16 helicopters not to violate the USA's CAATSA law (Countering America's Adversaries Act), the Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Jose Manuel Romualdez said.

The Philippine government refused to buy 16 Russian Mi-17 military transport helicopters to avoid US sanctions.

According to former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (currently the head of the government agency responsible for converting former military bases into business centers), the contract worth 12.7 billion Philippine pesos (about $228 million) was signed in November. An advance payment was made in January. According to the agreement, Russia's Sovtechnoexport was supposed to deliver helicopters in about two years.

Lorenzana said that he canceled the deal in June, prior the end of his ministerial term, with the approval from then-president Rodrigo Duterte.

"We could face sanctions,” he said. According to Lorenzana, Washington could express its dissatisfaction if the deal was continued due to the deterioration of relations between the United States and Russia.

The ex-minister added that Washington knew about Manila's decision to refuse to buy Russian Mi-17 choppers. The US may offer similar helicopters to the country, the official said.

In turn, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said the deal was canceled over the fears to violate the 2017 CAATSA law. This law stipulates for sanctions against companies and countries that cooperate with US-sanctioned Russian enterprises and organizations.

Russian Mi-17 is a multi-purpose helicopter used for passenger and cargo transportation. It can carry up to 26 passengers and up to 8 tons of cargo.

In April, India decided to postpone the purchase of 48 Mi-17V5 military transport helicopters from Russia. According to ANI and India Today government sources, the decision was not related to the Russian military operation in Ukraine, but was made long before it started, as part of support for the Make in India national medium-lift helicopter program adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team, Editor: Dmitry Sudakov