Lorenzana, top EU diplomat discuss Russia-Ukraine conflict

The worsening military invasion of Russia in Ukraine became the central topic of discussion between Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and European Union (EU) Ambassador to the ASEAN and concurrent EU Special Envoy to Myanmar Igor Driesmans recently.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left) and European Union Ambassador to ASEAN Igor Driesmans. (Courtesy of DND)

In a statement Wednesday, March 16, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the two officials "expressed concern at the situation developing in Ukraine."

"Ambassador Driesmans was likewise alarmed at the condition of civilians in the humanitarian corridor. He thanked Secretary Lorenzana for the Philippines' support for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution demanding that Russia immediately end its military operations in Ukraine," Andolong said.

Driesmans paid a courtesy call on Lorenzana at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City last March 10.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine resulted to the soaring oil prices in the global economy, including the Philippines.

Lorenzana earlier said that the DND is prepared to send military equipment and troops to Ukraine for the repatriation of distressed Overseas Filipinos there.

Aside from the crisis, Lorenzana and Driesmans also talked about the volatile situation in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Lorenzana thanked the EU's continued calls for peace and security in the WPS, and for countries to abide by international law and follow a rules-based order in the region.

"The Defense Chief also cited the near collision of a Chinese and US naval ship several years ago to underscore the possibility of miscalculations and accidents at sea," Andolong said.

The situation in the South China Sea remains unpredictable eith the continued intrusion of Chinese vessels.

Just recently, a Chinese ship was spotted off Sulu Sea in what was described by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as an "illegal intrusion and lingering presence" in the Philippines' territorial waters.

The vessel, identified as People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) 792, a Dongdiao-class electronic reconnaissance ship, stayed in Sulu Sea from January 29 to February 1, according to DFA.