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‘No Russian fighters in Marawi’

05:02 AM December 06, 2017

Having read “Foreign fighters seen in North Cotabato” (11/19/17), I was most surprised to see that the author, Edwin Fernandez, put Chechnya on the list of countries whose nationals were among foreign militants that took part in the attack on Marawi last May 23.

This statement is wrong on so many levels that an explanation is in order to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

Let us begin with the simple fact that Chechnya is not an independent country and, as such, not a subject to international law. It is a constituent unit within the Russian Federation and therefore on the international level, people from Chechnya are Russian.

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Furthermore, representatives of the Department of National Defense (DND) have issued several statements confirming that no Russian citizens were present during the attack on Marawi. The Inquirer, on the other hand, has been known to specifically emphasize the presence of Chechen, which would be very difficult to determine since if the people in question were actually present in Mindanao, they would carry Russian documents identifying them as citizens of Russia.

I assure you that if DND were to determine the presence of Russian citizens among the militants, they would most definitely have approached the embassy and such facts would have been very thoroughly investigated both by the Russian and Philippine sides. For now, however, neither the DND nor any other Philippine agency has contacted us regarding the matter, which makes one question the credibility of those reports of Chechen fighters in Marawi and wonder why the Inquirer would publish such questionable information.

Please kindly refrain from publishing material that distorts the current international situation and cast a shadow on friendly relations between Russia and the Philippines.

The embassy would gladly provide advice on the current state of relations between our countries or the Russian position on any international issues.

NATALIA NAUMOVA,
press attaché,
Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of the Philippines

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TAGS: Edwin Fernandez, Embassy of the Russian Federation, foreign fighters in Marawi, Inquirer letters, Marawi siege, Natalia Naumova
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