Putin meets Duterte in last-minute meeting

President Rodrigo Duterte met Russian President Vladimir Putin in a last-minute bilateral meeting in Kremlin, Tuesday night.

The Russian leader expressed his condolences over the Marawi City attack during this last-minute meeting. Both leaders were supposed to meet on Thursday, May 25, but due to the immediate crisis in the island of Mindanao, the Philippine President’s delegation had to bow out of the rest of the scheduled meetings.

“I’d like to express my condolences because of the horrible terrorist attacks,” said Putin to Duterte, right before the Philippine President left for the airport.

Putin had to travel back to Moscow coming from a nearby province when the Russian leader heard Duterte is set to fly back that evening.

“I seized the opportunity to see you in person and I hope to talk about the bilateral and regional situation”, Putin said.

During the meeting, Philippine President Duterte asked Putin for a soft loan that would be used to purchase firearms. This is due to the trashed arms deal with the United States a few months back. He also told Putin that members of ISIS have occupied some provinces in the country.

President Duterte was supposed to stay in Russia until May 26, but is now expected to return to the Philippines on May 24, Wednesday morning.