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Lorenzana: For now, 'we don't see any likelihood' chopper deal with Russia will be shelved

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said it is unlikely that the Philippine government will scrap its helicopter procurement from Russia, which is being hit with big economic sanctions for its assault on Ukraine.

Lorenzana said the P12.7 billion contract to acquire 17 units of Mi17 heavy-lift helicopters from Russia is “on track.”

“The contract was signed and the down payments were done before the Ukraine crisis happened,” the defense chief told reporters.

“We do not see any likelihood of being scrapped as of this moment.”

According to him, the project is a “multi-year procurement contract” signed in November 2021 and the down payment was made last January. He added that the delivery of the first batch of the Russian-made choppers will be in 24 months.

When asked if the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict will affect the project, Lorenzana said: “Only time will tell.”

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KGA

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