MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said Russian President Vladimir Putin had offered to sell him arms, following an issue with Washington last month when it balked on a planned rifle purchase due to concerns over human rights violations.
Duterte told journalists after arriving from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Peru that he was exploring "other potential transactions which offer better deals and more advantageous terms" while the rifle deal with the U.S. was under review.
"If (U.S.) Senator Cardin does not want to sell rifles to us, Putin said you can have, buy one and take one, almost like that. He said if you cannot buy arms anywhere, go to me," he said.
In Peru on Saturday (November 19), Duterte met Putin for the first time and bemoaned what he called hypocrisy and "bullying" by the United States and allies.
Aides to Ben Cardin, who sits on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last month said the State Department had been informed Cardin would oppose the rifle deal during the prenotification process, effectively putting the brakes on it.
"If he (Cardin) does not want us to be allies, then we'll go to Russia and China. You don't deprive your ally with arms, because your allies has to protect its public and to keep the order, internally and to foreign aggression," he said.
Duterte has almost cancelled the 26,000 assault rifles purchase from the U.S., but revoked his decision apparently after Republican Donald Trump's surprise win in the U.S. presidential election.
Before his departure to Lima on Thursday (November 17), Duterte told journalists that he would side with China and Russia if they build a "new world order" and might also follow Putin's decision to leave the International Criminal Court.
Duterte has been critical of the E.U. and the U.S. for their criticisms on his drug war.