MOSCOW—President Rodrigo Duterte met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin before flying back to Manila at 1:38 a.m. Wednesday (6:38 a.m., Manila time).
The meeting took place around 10 p.m. on May 23 here ( around 3 a.m. of May 24, Manila time).
Putin returned to Moscow Tuesday evening to meet Duterte, who cut short his visit because of the situation in Marawi City.
The President explained to Putin the reason for his abrupt departure.
Putin, in turn, condoled with Duterte for the Marawi attack and hoped that it would be resolved with minimum losses.
“I have to express our condolences… my colleagues and myself definitely understand quite well that you do have to return to your motherland,” Putin said, according to a transcript of the meeting handed to media covering here.
The Chief Executive arrived in Moscow past 11p.m. Monday here (past 4 a.m. Tuesday, May 23, Manila time).
President Duterte is supposed to hold a bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, receive his honorary doctorate degree from Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), and witness the signing of various agreements between the two countries.
His visit here also include meeting with the business and Filipino communities in Russia.
“I have spoken to my counterpart here in Moscow and have explained the situation, and they understand that the security of the Filipino people especially in Marawi and the whole Mindanao is a priority,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a briefing.
“They understand that the presence of President Duterte is essential in the Philippines but I will be staying behind. The agreements will be signed and we will have a bilateral meeting with the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs (Sergey) Lavrov,” Cayetano added.
He noted that the President does not “take lightly the declaration of martial law” as this will have implications, particularly in tourism, in the southern Philippines.
“The mere declaration of martial law would dissuade some from going to Mindanao at this point in time,” the top diplomat said.
The President is expected to arrive in the Philippines at around 4:30 p.m. (Manila time).