The Philippine government has canceled a $227 million deal to acquire 16 Russian military helicopters over possible US sanctions due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to the Associated Press on July 27, 2022, the country’s former defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the Philippines had permanently dropped the deal, arguing that the country could have faced US sanctions following terms of its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) if the Philippines proceeded with the deal.
While Russia can appeal the decision, there is little chance that the country will change the outcome, Lorenzana said.
The contract for the purchase of 16 Russian-manufactured Mil Mi-17 multi-purpose helicopters was announced in November 2021. Under the terms of the deal, Russia committed to delivering the first batch of orders in 2023. The helicopters were expected to perform various military and non-military-related missions, including search and rescue or combat operations as well as medical evacuation missions in the Southeast Asian region, where locals frequently suffer the consequences of natural disasters.
In April 2022, the US President Joe Biden announced that the US would supply 11 Mi-17 helicopters to Ukrainian forces in order to help the country in its air defense against Russia’s invasion.
All 11 helicopters had previously served the former Afghan government. However, once the local government fell in September 2021, the US government took ownership of the helicopters.
The Mil Mi-17 helicopter, which Russian forces refer to as the Mi-8MT, was first introduced in 1975. Mass production of the medium twin-turbine transport helicopter began in 1977 and continues to this day.