President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday the world should "watch out" for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whom he described as "suicidal", as Russian forces continued to advance into Ukraine.
Duterte said the Philippines would remain "neutral" on the Russia-Ukraine war. Earlier this week, the Philippines joined the UN General Assembly in demanding that Moscow withdraw its forces from the former Soviet republic.
"You watch out for Putin, he is suicidal...Kaya kapag mapahiya siya dito, magwawala yan and I realized it when I went to Russia. I had a talk with him on all aspects of life," Duterte said.
Duterte had visited Russia and met in Moscow with Putin, whom he once described as his "idol".
"Pag hindi ito nakontrol, delikado ang mundo," Duterte said in a speech in Narvacan town in Ilocos Sur.
"Ako naman, we stay neutral [on Ukraine-Russia war]. But reality tells me that in the end, we'll just have to select which side we will be," he said.
MORE ON RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE:
Since their first meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Peru in 2016, Duterte has fostered warmer ties between Manila and Moscow and has visited Russia twice during his presidency.
Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, forcing more than half a million people of the country to flee. Several nations have condemned the attack, with the United Nations General Assembly asking Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.
UKRAINE AND THE PHILIPPINES: