Marcos, Zelenskyy talk about deepening PH-Ukraine cooperation in first phone call

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy finally got the chance to talk to each other a month after the former clarified that he did not snub the European leader.

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (file photos)

Zelenskyy announced this development in a social media post on Monday evening, Manila time.

In a tweet, the embattled leader said his phone call with Marcos was the first conversation between the two countries' leaders since Marcos assumed office.

According to Zelenskyy, he thanked Marcos for standing by Ukraine. He said they discussed deepening the relationship between the Philippines and Ukraine.

"Had the first phone call in the history of bilateral relations with President of the Philippines ," he wrote.

"Thanked him for supporting sovereignty territorial integrity of . We discussed further deepening of cooperation, in particular on international platforms," he added.

Malacañang has yet to provide details on how the conversation between the two leaders went.

Last month, Ukrainian Charges D'Affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine in Malaysia Denys Mykhailiuk said they have been trying to have the two leaders talk to each other since Marcos assumed office in June 2022 but to no avail.

In an interview, President Marcos said they were surprised by Mykhailiuk's remarks, saying both sides have been trying to set a schedule so he and Zelenskyy could talk.

He added that he did not snub Zelenskyy's call for a phone conversation and has always been willing to talk with him.

"There was talk of it a couple of months ago pero wala lang napag-usapan. That's why nagulat kami when the special envoy came out and said na hindi ko sinasagot (but we haven't set a schedule yet. That's why we were surprised when the special envoy came out and said we were not responding)," Marcos said.

“I have no problem talking with President Zelenskyy, especially now na mainit na yung giyera doon sa kanila (that the war in his country is still ongoing),” he added.

Despite this, Marcos said the Philippines will always be on the side of peace and express support for initiatives leading toward it if needed.

"We support any effort towards peace — anything. Basta matigil ang patayan, matigil ang giyera (As long as the killing and the war will stop),” he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has called out the Ukrainian envoy for expressing his remarks before the media, saying the move was undiplomatic.

Ukraine is at war with Russia after the latter started its invasion of the former Soviet republic almost a year ago, on Feb. 24, 2022. There has been a lingering tension between the two countries since 2014.