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Duterte and Russia's Putin Talk Over the Phone

Hello, Moscow.
by Arianne Merez
Apr 13, 2021
President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
Photo/s: Sen. Bong Go
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President Rodrigo Duterte and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin talked over the phone on Tuesday afternoon, a close aide of the Philippine leader said.

During the call, the two leaders discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, defense cooperation, energy trade, and investment among others, Sen. Bong Go said. The phone call happened at 4:20 p.m., he added.

It was not clear who initiated the phone conversation.

"They also agreed that there is a need to work together to ramp up supplies and production of vaccines to meet the needs of our population," Go said in a statement.

The call between the two leaders came barely a month since the Philippines granted emergency use authorization to Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

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Sen. Bong Go
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The jab, developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute, is the fourth to receive emergency use authorization in the Philippines after Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer.

On Tuesday, Philippine vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said Manila is set to receive an initial 500,000 doses of the Sputnik V jab.

Duterte, who in the past has called Putin his "favorite hero," has made two trips to Russia in 2017 and 2019 to meet with the latter. Putin however has never visited the Philippines.

The Philippine leader has sought closer ties with Russia throughout his presidency.

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