DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines —The best way to end the war in Ukraine and prevent a nuclear war between Russia and the West led by the United States is to oust President Vladimir Putin.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte made the remark in an interview on Monday night with controversial televangelist Apollo Quiboloy over Sonshine Media Network Inc.
Quiboloy had asked him to comment on the ongoing war in Ukraine, which spawned by Russia’s invasion of its neighbor in February last year.
Duterte said that Putin, which in various instances before he called a “friend,” could be inclined to make true his threat of launching nuclear warheads.
‘I think Putin will go for it’
“You place Putin in one corner, he might be tempted to push the nuclear button,” Duterte said.
He said the probability could be even higher if Russian forces would suffer a rout on the battlefield.
“If he cannot accept defeat, he loses face. I think Putin will go for it,” he said.
“Our best bet there is the military guys in Russia. The military is the only force there that can stop him. They can stage a coup d’etat — oust him to prevent a total nuclear war,” said the former president, who pampered the military and the police during his term from 2016 to 2022.
According to Duterte, the military in Russia is now at a crossroads.
“Go to war until kingdom come. Or stop the war and spare the world of an unnecessary spectacle of a nuclear war,” he said. “And the generals, I think, the younger ones, I’m sure they are planning to do what should be the next move.”
Duterte stressed this point: “Nobody really wants to go to war because if that happens, the first victim of the nuclear warheads would be Russia. Russia will be demolished to the ground.”
Putin’s ‘many errors’
Last year, during his final days in office, Duterte, known internally as ‘The Punisher’ for his bloody crackdown against illegal drugs, slammed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine which led to massive civilian deaths.
On Monday, Duterte rebuked Putin’s “many errors” in Ukraine, which he said included “widespread violations of human rights, and perpetrated war crimes, killing civilians and bombing cities with nary a care on who will get killed or hurt.”
“My God, I have never [seen] so much destruction perpetrated by [one] nation on another,” Duterte said.
He noted that Russia’s military unleashed “a barrage of bombs and cannon balls and everything, hitting civilian targets, including residential, killing children, women, men, and everything.”
“It’s a classic case of a terror [operation],” he said.
For these, Putin could surely face prosecution for war crimes, said Duterte, who himself is now facing a probe by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity arising from his administration’s drug war.