Duterte: Two Russians arrested for drug smuggling to 'get a fair trial'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — President Rodrigo Duterte brought up the case of two Russian nationals arrested for drug smuggling during the bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, but not after he thanked the country for its help in the Marawi crisis.

"It was the first urgent matter that I'd like to bring it up with you," Duterte said on Monday, referring to Russia's arms donation.

"Second is that there are two nationals facing criminal cases in drug smuggling," the President said during the bilateral meeting with Medvedev.

Russian nationals Yuri Kirdyushkin and Anastasia Novopashina were arrested in two different occasions in 2016.

Both were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport - Kirdyushkin in October and Novopashina in November 2016 - for smuggling cocaine.

READ: Three foreigners nabbed at NAIA for P130M cocaine

Duterte, who has waged a war on drugs since his first day in office in 2016, said their case is still under investigation.

"I would just like to say that we have a working functional justice system here and they will get a fair trial and that they will be detained in a comfortable house," the President said.

Medvedev is in the country for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings, as one of the dialogue partners.

Government data shows almost 4,000 drug personalities have died in anti-drug operations, from July 2016 to October 2017. Around 117,000 drug personalities have been arrested.

After the bilateral meeting, the Philippines and Russia also signed a number of agreements on mutual legal assistance, extradition, and cooperation in energy, education, mass communications, and transportation education, among others.