Duterte to convene military, police as Ukraine-Russia crisis escalates

President Duterte will call for a special meeting to be composed of his Cabinet members, military, and the police to discuss the escalating tensions in Ukraine as Russia moved for an all-out invasion.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his regular public address that was aired on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (RTVM Screenshot)

“Our plea in the plenary would really be to join the call for restraint and to deescalate the violence there,” he said during the second part of his weekly pre-recorded public address aired on Tuesday, March 1.

The Chief Executive invited the people to listen to the special meeting that will also be attended by the business sector because “it’s very important for us to know what is happening now.”

“Tomorrow, I will be calling for a special meeting. We will discuss about what is evolving or what is happening in Europe,” Duterte shared.

“The invitation is for all so that we can an exchange of ideas between the military and police. On one hand, mayroon tayong mga negosyante (we have businessmen) so we can come up a sensible front of how to handle this thing,” he added.

Acting Presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles will be the “sole” spokesperson to share with the public the salient points taken up in the meeting.

Russian forces, on orders of President Vladimir Putin, launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, sea, and air last week, signaling the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since the Second World War.

Reports said Russian missiles targeted Ukrainian cities, confirming the worst of the West’s fears. Troops also crossed land borders and landed by sea in the southern cities.

READ: More Filipinos fleeing Ukraine amid Russian invasion

The invasion came after months of speculations that Putin would recognize the breakaway People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DNR and LNR), which are considered separatist groups in Ukraine.

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine held in Belarus also ended without breakthrough as Russian forces continue their descent on Ukrainian towns and forced people out of their homes.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reported that 40 Filipinos have fled Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv and headed to the western city of Lviv. The agency expects more Filipinos to arrive in the coming days.

The Philippine Embassy in Warsaw, which has jurisdiction over Ukraine, set up a base in Lviv to assist Filipinos and repatriate them via a humanitarian corridor established between the Philippines and Poland.

There’s an estimated 380 Filipinos in Ukraine, but only 181 have coordinated with the DFA.