By Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippine government has congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his victory in the latest presidential election.
Putin has been re-elected for a fourth term by a large margin, extending his presidency by another six years.
“We can only congratulate him because we don’t meddle in the affairs of other states,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said during a press conference in Camarines Sur.
President Duterte has revitalized the country’s economic and defense relations with Russia as he moved away from the United States over alleged interference in domestic affairs especially its criticisms on war on illegal drugs.
Recently, Duterte heaped praises on Russia, saying the country was no pushover in the military arms race. He also thanked Putin for the timely delivery of weapon and other equipment that were instrumental in defeating Islamic State-linked militants in the country.
The last time the two leaders met was during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Vietnam in November 2017. They agreed to develop defense cooperation and economic ties.