As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, President Duterte advised his “friend,” Russian President Vladimir Putin, to rein in his soldiers as he has an obligation that no civilian would be killed or hurt in the armed conflict.
Duterte said this as he noted the many civilians perished from the attacks. The Ukrainian government said that at least 10,000 civilians have died since the war started on February 24, but the United Nations (UN) civilian death toll stood at least 3,300 as of mid-May.
In his pre-recorded “Talk to the People,” aired late Monday, May 23, the President said the world could only return to normal once the armed conflict in Eastern Europe stopped. However, he thought this would not happen anytime soon.
“You have to solve the war between Ukraine and Russia before we can return to normalcy. Sa ngayon (For now), it is a bleak picture because mukhang ayaw pa ni Putin hintuan yung giyera (it seems Putin doesn’t want to end the war yet),” he said.
The President lamented how Russia has been handling the war, asking Putin to control his soldiers and tell them to stop killing the innocent.
“Magkaibigan ko man siya (Putin is my friend). You are in control of everyhting. Anyway, you really started the ruckus there, sana higpitan mo ang mga sundalo mo. Nagwawala, eh (I hope you control your soldiers. They are out of control),” Duterte said.
“Dapat pumasok na si Putin sabihin ‘wag ninyong galawin (Putin should step in and tell them to not touch the civilians). Or at least, kung may mga (if there are) civilians, give them a warning to vacate the place where they are so that they can go to safer grounds hindi yung tira ka nang tira diyan (instead of firing aimlessly),” he added.
President Duterte hoped that President Putin would hear his plea, reminding the Russian leader that getting civilians killed was not the way to fight a war.
“I am not condemning President Putin. I am just sharing my sentiment, which is also the sentiment of every human being na nandito sa kwartong ito (in this room). It’s not the way how to fight a war,” he said.
“Kung narinig sana ako ng Russian Embassy, sabihin nila doon kay Putin na nagsalita yung kaibigan mo. Paalis na pagka-presidente pero humihirit pa rin in the name of humanity (If the Russian Embassy can hear me, I hope they tell Putin that his friend is speaking. Even though he will be stepping down soon, he is still speaking for the sake of humanity),” he added.
The President said he was only speaking up because it pains him to see civilians affected. He said it was Putin’s duty to ensure that the war would not kill the innocent.
“Pati tayo nasasaktan na dahil nakikita natin pati civilian, pati mga bata. You know, yung kanyon mo ‘wag mo itutok sa residential (We are hurt because we see even civilians and children are affected. You know, don’t point your cannons at residential areas),” Duterte said.
“I’m not picking a quarrel with anybody, I said Putin is a friend of mine, but it is your moral obligation to see to it that the civilians [are protected],” he added.
“Wala akong ano diyan except hindi natin practice ‘yan (There’s nothing in it for me except that’s not our practice),” he continued.