Lorenzana says spillover of Ukraine-Russia conflict to Philippines is remote

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Lorenzana says spillover of Ukraine-Russia conflict to Philippines is remote
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shares his remarks during a meeting with key government officials presided over by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the Malacañan Palace on May 2, 2022.
Presidential Photo / Alfred Frias

MANILA, Philippines — The possibility of the Ukraine-Russia conflict spilling over to the Philippines is remote despite the country's military agreements with the US, the defense department said Thursday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippines is far from the site of the clashes, which were triggered by Russia's invasion.

"I discussed that with the president, especially during the command conference. He asked, 'Are we in danger of being dragged into that?' Because he said he allowed the US to use Clark in case it goes to war," Lorenzana said in Filipino during an interview with state-run People's Television.

"I told him, 'Mr. President, that's probably far from happening because first, we are far (from the site of the conflict). If America needs a place for its equipment and personnel before getting involved in Ukraine, there are nearby countries for that,' So I said we may not be dragged into it," he added.

Lorenzana noted that South Korea, Turkey and other countries with North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces are nearer Ukraine compared to the Philippines.

"If ever the president offers Clark to them (US), it's very unlikely that they would position several troops and equipment here," the defense chief added.  

In his recent speeches, Duterte warned that there would be "serious trouble" if the conflict in Ukraine escalates into a nuclear war. He claimed that China, an ally of Russia, would not sit idly and may seize Taiwan if it decides to be involved in the war. The president said the Philippines would be affected by such a development because there are American troops based in the country.

Duterte echoed the concern during the inauguration of the New Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila last Wednesday.

"Even this ruckus in Ukraine, let's pray that it will not degenerate into something like a nuclear warfare. We will be finished. We will be finished because China would not stand idly and allow Russia. You know why? When I was in China, (Chinese President) Xi Jinping was frank with me and said we will not allow our ally, most important ally, Russia," the president said.

"There were already bickerings and rumblings and everything... But if it goes nuclear, we would be hit. Why? The Americans are here. They never left Clark and Subic, he added, referring to the sites of former US bases.

Duterte said Filipinos would never know if the Americans based in the country brought with them nuclear armaments.

"Keep that in mind because it's really dangerous. He (Russian President Vladimir Putin) will just push the button and that's it. We will face difficulties. We will have a dry season in our life," he added.





As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 3, 2023 - 7:08pm

President Vladimir Putin says he hopes that Moscow and the West could find a solution to the raging security crisis over Ukraine, but also accused Washington of using Kyiv as a "tool" against Russia.

"I hope that in the end we will find a solution, although it will not be simple," Putin says, indicating he was ready for more talks with the West, which has accused Moscow of massing more than 100,000 troops on the border and plotting to invade Ukraine.

"It seems to me that the United States is not so much concerned about the security of Ukraine... but its main task is to contain Russia's development," Putin says. — AFP

June 3, 2023 - 7:08pm

Ukraine is ready to launch a long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia but fears large casualties due to Moscow's superior air power, President Volodydmyr Zelensky says in comments published Saturday. 

Ukraine has said it is preparing for a major offensive against Moscow's occupation forces for months, but Zelensky has repeatedly warned that Kyiv needs more time and weapons. 

"A large number of soldiers will die" if Kyiv is not given the weapons to counter Russian air power, Zelensky says. — AFP  

June 2, 2023 - 4:37pm

Ukraine says Friday it destroyed all 15 missiles and 21 drones from a new wave of overnight attacks that left  two people wounded in Kyiv.

"The occupiers don't stop trying to terrorise the capital of Ukraine with attack drones and missiles," the air force says.

"All 15 cruise missiles and 21 attack drones were destroyed," it adds. — AFP

May 31, 2023 - 3:28pm

At least five people were killed and 19 wounded in a night bombardment in Ukraine's Lugansk region, its Russian administrators said Wednesday, blaming the Ukrainian army for the attack.

"The strike on the village of Karpaty by Ukrainian armed groups... killed five and wounded 19," Russian security authorities in the Lugansk region posted on Telegram.

A poultry farm and temporary accommodation for workers were damaged in the attack on Karpaty, 35 kilometres (22 miles) west of the city of Lugansk, the authorities added.

The Russians did not specify whether the killed and wounded were civilians or military personnel, although they had listed four workers killed in an earlier toll. — AFP

May 31, 2023 - 8:45am

President Vladimir Putin accuses Kyiv of seeking to "frighten" Russians after drones hit Moscow high-rises in the first such attack since the beginning of the Kremlin's assault on Ukraine.

As drones struck in and around Moscow, Russian drones targeted Kyiv for a third straight day while Ukraine gears up for a major offensive against Russian forces.

Officials said no one was seriously injured in Moscow and there was only "minor" damage to residential buildings, but some locals said they never thought the Russian capital could be hit in this way. — AFP

May 30, 2023 - 3:19pm

Russia's defense ministry accused Ukraine on Tuesday of a "terrorist attack", saying it had intercepted all of the eight Ukrainian drones aimed at Moscow.

"This morning the Kyiv regime carried out a terrorist attack with drones on targets in the city of Moscow. Eight drones were used in the attack. All of the enemy drones were downed," the ministry said on social media. — AFP

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