MELBOURNE, Australia — The Philippines has confirmed it is in the process of canceling a contract to acquire Russian-built transport helicopters, citing changes in priorities brought on by world events.
National Defense Department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said in a statement carried by the Philippines’ national news agency that the government is currently formalizing the termination of the contract with Russia’s Sovtechnoexport for 16 Mi-17 helicopters.
“We are also preparing to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with the Russian side regarding matters arising from the project’s cancellation,” Andolong said, adding cryptically that “changes in priorities necessitated by global political developments resulted in the cancellation of the project by the previous administration.”
He also said efforts are being made to retrieve the $48.2 million down payment for the helicopters made in January.
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