The deal’s cancellation was announced former Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday 26 July, but was approved for cancellation by former President Rodrigo Duterte before the end of his term in office last month, according to a report by the Associated Press (AP) news agency.
Lorenzana told AP that the decision was made due to concerns about the negative reaction of the international community if the Philippines continued with the deal. Russia is currently subject to a number of international trade sanctions in response to its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
In particular, Philippine Ambassador to the US, Jose Manuel Romualdez told AP that the decision to cancel was made due to fears about potential US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if the deal went through.
While the Russian government can appeal the decision due to a contract having been signed in November 2021, there is reportedly little room for the Philippine government to reconsider.
Under the agreement, the first batch of helicopters would have been scheduled for delivery in about two years. An initial payment has already been made as part of the deal. The aircraft would have been used for combat, search and rescue and medevac operations.
The Philippine Department of National Defense previously placed an order in February for 32 more Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk multipurpose helicopters with Polish Lockheed Martin subsidiary PZL Mielec, for use by the Philippine Air Force. However, this order is likely unrelated to the Mi-17 contract’s cancellation.