Philippines abandons 16 Russian helicopters due to US sanctions

The deal was canceled due to Philippines fears of violating the Countering America's Adversaries Act (CAATSA), said the country's ambassador to the United States, Jose Manuel Romualdez

The Philippine government refused to buy 16 Russian military transport Mi-17 helicopters for fear of US sanctions, officials told AP.

According to former Defense Secretary Delphine Lorenzana (now head of the government agency responsible for converting former military bases into business centers), the 12.7 billion Philippine pesos (about $228 million) contract was signed in November, with an advance payment made in January. Its amount is not disclosed. According to the agreement «Sovtechnoexport» was supposed to deliver helicopters in about two years.

Lorenzana said he canceled the deal in June, before the end of his ministerial term, with the approval of then-president Rodrigo Duterte. “We could face sanctions,” — he noted. 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-17s and could offer the country similar helicopters.

In turn, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdes said the deal was canceled due to fears of violating the Countering America's Adversaries Act. (CAATSA). In accordance with it, countries and companies cooperating with Russian enterprises and organizations from the sanctions list may fall under US sanctions. This law was adopted in 2017.

Mi-17— multi-purpose helicopter, which is 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 sources in the government, the decision is not related to the Russian military operation in Ukraine, it was made long before it began— in support of the national program of medium-lift helicopters Make in India, adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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