The Philippines is interested in buying heavy-lift Chinook helicopters from the United States after canceling a $227.35 million deal with Russia to avoid sanctions. Manila’s ambassador to Washington said this on Monday. Reuters news.

In June, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte canceled a deal to buy 16 Mi-17 Russian military transport helicopters days before the end of his six-year term. The decision was taken amid fears of Western sanctions over Russian operations in Ukraine.

Philippine Ambassador to Manila Jose Manuel Romualdez told reporters in a virtual forum on Monday that the deal was scrapped mainly because of the war in Ukraine. We cannot continue with the agreement due to fear of sanctions from the US and Western countries.

Romualdez also said that the United States is willing to make a deal with us for the same amount that the Philippines will spend on Russian helicopters. The US wants to sell Chinook helicopters for that amount of money. The contract with Washington will likely include maintenance, service and parts.

The Chinooks will replace existing hardware used in the Southeast Asian nation for troop movement and disaster preparedness.

Reuters reports that the Philippines is in talks with Russia to get back the $38 million it paid as a down payment for the helicopters. The delivery of the helicopters was supposed to start in November next year or 24 months after the signing of the contract

Apart from military deals, Romualdez said the Philippines wants to increase economic exchanges with the United States in digital infrastructure and clean energy, including modular nuclear power generation, under new President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

(August 15)