Philippines refused to buy 16 Mi-17 helicopters from Russia due to US sanctions

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Philippines refused to buy 16 Mi-17 helicopters from Russia due to US sanctions

Russian Sovtechnoexport was to deliver the first batch of Mi-17s in 2 years, but Manila canceled the $227 million deal. US intelligence agencies offered the Philippines to buy similar military helicopters.

The Philippine government canceled a deal to purchase 16 Russian Mi-17 military transport helicopters due to fears of US sanctions. This was reported by the Associated Press with reference to Philippine officials.

Former Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzan (now in charge of the state agency responsible for converting former military bases into business centers – ed.) announced the cancellation of the November deal for 227 million dollars, which was previously approved by former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippines made an advance payment for helicopters in January. Based on the terms of the contract, the first batch of helicopters was supposed to be delivered by the Russian Sovtechnoexport in two years.

Philippines refused to buy 16 Mi-17 helicopters from Russia due to US sanctions

“We may face sanctions. Washington may express dissatisfaction if the Philippines continues the deal due to the aggravation of the US-Russia conflict,” Lorenzan commented on the decision.

According to him, the US intelligence agencies knew about Manila's intention to buy helicopters from the Russian Federation and could offer similar military helicopters.

Filipino Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez told The Associated Press that if he buys helicopters from Moscow, his country will be subject to sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Act (CAATSA) .

The law allows you to impose sanctions against countries and companies that cooperate with Russian enterprises and organizations from the sanctions list. A representative of the Philippine military department said that the Russians can appeal, but the Philippine government does not have the opportunity to review the decision.

MI-17 helicopters – why does the Philippines need Russian equipment

The Philippines' Russian-made helicopters could be used for combat, search and rescue and medical evacuation missions in the archipelagos of Southeast Asia, where typhoons and other natural disasters are common, officials say.

Philippines refused to buy from Russia 16 Mi-17 helicopters due to US sanctions

In March of this year, in response to the question whether a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine would affect the purchase of helicopters, Lorenzan said: “We do not see the likelihood of that it will be canceled at the moment, only time will tell”.

The Mi-17 is an export version of the Mi-8 helicopter, which has been produced in the USSR since 1980. It is considered a multipurpose helicopter for passenger and cargo transport. The helicopter can carry up to 26 passengers and up to 8 tons of cargo.

It should be noted that on May 16 Ukraine received three Mi-17 helicopters as part of the next package of military assistance from the United States. In total, 11 Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters were intended for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Russians were outraged by the supply of Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine and spoke about the illegality of their transfer.

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