President Rodrigo Roa Duterte interacts with the guests during the inauguration of the new 20-storey Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Head Office Building in Pasig City on May 23, 2022. (MNS photo)

MANILA, May 24 (Mabuhay) — Amid concerns over the Russia-Ukraine war’s mounting death toll, President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday night urged his “friend” Russian President Vladimir Putin to take precautions to spare civilians from attacks.

In a prerecorded Talk to the People, Duterte requested the Russian Embassy in the Philippines to relay his message to Putin, saying that it is the Russian leader’s obligation to ensure the safety of the innocent.

‘Yung embassy ng Russia, kung nakikinig (The embassy of Russia, if you’re listening), I am not picking a quarrel with anybody. I said Putin is a friend of mine. But…it is your moral obligation to see to it na (that) the civilians, the innocent ones, children, the elderly, mga babae (the women)… Vulnerable masyado sila at walang — hindi sila marunong magtago, nandiyan lang sa bahay nila (They are too vulnerable and don’t know how to hide, they just stay in their homes),” he said.

Putin, he said, could at the very least give civilians a “warning” to vacate their homes and transfer to “safer grounds.”

Duterte described how Putin’s military is handling the war as a “ruckus” and appealed to him to “control” his soldiers.

“The way they are handling the war everyday, pati ‘yung mga civilian, binobomba…Putin kaibigan ko man siya (even the civilians are being bombed…Putin is my friend). You are in control of everything. Anyway, you really started the ruckus there. Higpitan mo ang mga sundalo mo. Nagwawala eh (Control your soldiers. They’re running amuck),” he added.

He said the problem of inflated oil prices will not be solved until the Russia-Ukraine war ends.

“You have to solve the war between Ukraine and Russia before we can talk of even returning to normalcy. Sa pagka ngayon it’s a bleak picture because mukhang ayaw pa ni Putin hintuan ‘yung giyera (For now, it’s a bleak picture because it looks like Putin does not want to stop his war),” he said.

Meanwhile, Duterte clarified he is not condemning Putin but merely “sharing his sentiment.”

“I am not condemning President Putin. I am just sharing my sentiment which is also the sentiment of every human being na nandito sa kuwartong ito (in this room). It’s not the way how to fight a war,” he added.

Despite comparisons made between him and Putin, he said he was different because he pitied the innocent for being dragged into the war.

“Maraming nagsasabi na pareho daw kami ni Putin nagpapatay. Alam mo gusto ko lang malaman ninyong Pilipino na pumapatay talaga ako. Sinabi ko ‘yan sa inyo noon pa. Pero ang pinapatay ko kriminal. Hindi ako pumapatay ng bata o matanda. Magkaiba ang mundo namin ni — ‘yung nangyayari ngayon sa Russia pati sa Amerika (A lot of people are saying that Putin and I are the same because we kill people. I want Filipinos to know that I really kill. I said this before. But I kill criminals. I do not kill children and elderly. What is happening in Russia and America is different from what is happening here),” he said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, launched on February 24, has left thousands killed and injured, and forced over 14 million people to flee abroad.

Data from the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission recorded around 7,061 civilian casualties, with 3,381 killed and 3,680 injured across the country since the beginning of Russia’s armed attack. (MNS)

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