Ukraine intends to open an embassy in Manila this year, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in a special meeting Monday morning, bolstering its 32-year diplomatic ties with the Philippines.

“I am also very happy that this year we will open [an] embassy in Manila,” he said at the Malacañang Palace. He flew to Manila on Sunday night after attending the 21st International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The Ukraine president extended his gratitude to Marcos for the country’s continuing support and for the strong stand it took on the issues affecting the European country.

“Thank you so much, Mr. President. We’re happy to be first time in the Philippines. I’m sure not the last,” President Zelensky told President Marcos.

“Thank you for this invitation, and we’re very thankful to be in here in your country, and, which supports Ukraine, our territorial integrity and sovereignty. Thank you so much for your “big word” and clear position about us, about for this Russia occupation of our territories, and thank you on your support,” he added.

Responding to Zelensky on their plan to open an embassy in Manila this year, President Marcos said that it is good news as he emphasized that the Philippines will continue to help Ukraine in any way possible.

“That’s certainly very good news because we would very much like to continue to help, in any way, that the Philippines can through the multilateral and United Nations and even through other agencies such as the EU, such as the UN,” President Marcos told Zelensky.

“So, we will continue to do all that we can to promote peace and to bring an end to the fighting and to come to a political resolution of your country. I think everybody fully understands that it is easier said than done and it will be a difficult road to find our way back to the situation that is morally acceptable not only to Ukraine, but to the rest of the world,” the chief executive added.

President Marcos shared that the Philippines has been trying to promote the continuing adherence to international rules-based order as he reiterated the country’s efforts to advocate for peace and “do everything it can to promote that peace.”

The diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Ukraine span 32 years since it was formally established on April 7, 1992.

In 2022, Ukraine ranked as the 90th trading partner of the Philippines, the 119th export market and 76th import source. The total trade between the countries amounted USD 16.9 million with export valued at USD 1.49 million and imports at USD 15.41 million.

Ukraine served as a second home to nearly 200 Filipinos. But the figure went down to 25, who are mostly married to Ukrainians, due to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis.