In a sign of continuing closeness between Russia and the Philippines, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council has offered President Duterte access to Russian intelligence and tactical training for his security forces.
Rodrigo Duterte has stoked international controversy since assuming the presidency of the Philippines last summer by launching a violent police campaign focused on criminals and drug users in the country.
The campaign has been harshly criticized by the United Nations, prompting Duterte to advocate abandoning the U.N. in favor of starting a similar organization with China. He has also sought to broaden the Filipino military’s involvement in his campaign against drugs. It has been reported that his war on drugs has already cost more than 7,600 lives.
Duterte has frequently challenged the U.S., saying last year he wants to “reorient” foreign policy, and indicated a desire to more closely align with Russia and China to better serve his interests. Last fall he sought to expel U.S. Special Operations Forces from their ongoing Operation Enduring Freedom mission in the country’s south, citing security concerns.