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Duterte Tells Putin The Philippines Needs Modern Arms

Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte (right) had been die to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on May 24. (file photo)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says his country needs modern arms to fight Islamic State (IS) militants and that he expects Russian support.

Duterte made the comments on May 23 in Moscow during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, who said there were prospects for economic and military cooperation between the two countries.

The talks were initially planned for May 25, but Duterte cut short his visit after fierce fighting erupted between security forces and militants linked to the IS group on the Philippines' second largest island, Mindanao.

Duterte imposed martial law on Mindanao, where two soldiers and a police officer were killed and 12 wounded during a raid.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said dozens of gunmen suspected of being members of the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups occupied a hospital and a jail and burnt down buildings including a Catholic Church in the predominantly Muslim city of Marawi.

Abu Sayyaf and Maute have pledged allegiance to the IS group.

Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, AFP, AP, and dpa