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International relations

Duterte turns to 'hero' Putin for vaccines as China feud drags

Philippine leader orders 20m of Russia's Sputnik V jabs during virtual summit

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a virtual meeting this week (Source photos by Getty Images and Reuters).

MANILA -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has reconnected with his "favorite hero" -- Russian President Vladimir Putin -- over COVID vaccines at a time when a new maritime feud has driven a wedge between Manila and Beijing.

The two leaders held a virtual summit on Tuesday, with Duterte ordering 20 million doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V. The move diversifies Duterte's sources of pandemic support beyond U.S. and China as tensions between Manila and Beijing in the disputed South China Sea simmer.

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