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11 Jan, 2023 15:32

Pacific nation ignoring Ukraine’s calls – ambassador

The Philippines should participate in Vladimir Zelensky’s Peace Formula, Kiev's envoy says
Pacific nation ignoring Ukraine’s calls – ambassador

Ukraine’s ambassador to Manila Denis Mikhailyuk has complained that, despite trying for months, he hasn’t been able to arrange a phone call between Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky and the new President of the Philippines Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.

The embassy requested a high-level conversation in June when Marcos was still president-elect, “but we haven’t gotten a reply from the presidential office yet,” Mikhailyuk told journalists on Wednesday.

Since then, he’s made inquiries with the authorities in Manila at least twice about when Zelensky and Marcos could talk, the envoy said.

The phone call is necessary for Kiev to discuss bilateral ties and the “participation or co-sponsoring” by the Philippines of Zelensky’s Peace Formula, he explained.

The Ukrainian leader revealed his formula during a UN General Assembly session in September, claiming that his plan was designed to punish aggression and restore territorial integrity. According to Zelensky, it could be used to resolve other conflicts, not just the one between Russia and Ukraine. He later floated the idea of a UN-sponsored summit dedicated to that proposal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on the Peace Formula last month, saying Moscow “will not talk to anyone under such conditions” and that Kiev’s belief that the West will help it achieve its goals in the conflict was an “illusion.”

Mikhailyuk suggested that Marcos, who replaced Rodrigo Duterte as president six months ago, hasn’t talked to Zelensky yet because he has been busy “forming the government and is preoccupied with the domestic agenda.”

The leader of the Philippines last commented on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in late November, calling it “unacceptable.” Marcos pointed out that the fighting between neighbors had affected global food supply, and called for Moscow and Kiev “to move on to diplomacy so that... these aspects of the Ukrainian and Russian economy can be productive again.” 

According to the president, “friend to all, enemy to none” is a formula that the Philippines is pursuing in international relations.