Date: 31 July 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

The Philippines Cancels Russian Helicopter Deal Over Potential Sanctions

The Russian invasion of Ukraine scrapped Moscow’s plans to sell its weaponry abroad. Russian forces fall to Ukrainian troops and their Western-made military equipment. In addition, countries seeking to purchase Russian weapons may face U.S. Congress sanctions.


The Philippines has scrapped a  contract to buy 16 transport helicopters from Russia over fear of U.S. sanctions under the CAATSA legislation (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). The deal was scuttled in June 2022 by former president Rodrigo Duterte shortly before stepping down from office. The deal was signed in November 2021. An initial payment had been made by the Philippines in January 2022, which is 15 percent of the whole deal. The $227 million deal to acquire sixteen Mi-17s from Moscow was signed, with the first batch of the multi-purpose helicopters initially scheduled for delivery in 2024. Moscow can appeal Manila’s decision to back out during the contract’s “termination process,” but the Philippine government has little room to reconsider, the AP cited an unnamed Philippine military official as saying. The United States, the Philippines’ treaty ally that has imposed heavy sanctions on Russia aimed at forcing it to withdraw from Ukraine, could offer Manila similar heavy-lift helicopters in exchange for the scrapped Russian deal, U.S.-made CH-47 Chinook was also considered in the bid, eventually won by Russian-made Mi-17. The Philippines opted for the Russian offer as it included more helicopters at the same price. The Russian-made helicopters could have been used for combat, search and rescue operations. It is a popular piece of Russian weaponry in Asia and Latin America. Unlike other Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, or Vietnam, the Philippines has never bought any Soviet- or Russian-made weapons. Buying a batch of Mi-17 helicopters would mean Duterte’s better ties with Moscow, also to winning a new foreign market.

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