(CNN)Outspoken Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had a blunt message for the United States after reports emerged of a potentially blocked arms sale.
“They’re blackmailing me that they won’t sell weapons? We have lots of explosives here,” Duterte said, according to CNN Philippines.
And suggested, the country would turn to Russia for its weapons.
“[I] remember what the Russian diplomat said: Come to Russia, we all have here anything you need.”
The comments were in response to a report from Reuters that the US State Department halted the sale of about 26,000 assault rifles to Philippines police over concerns about the country’s recent human rights record.
State Department Spokesman John Kirby said he could not comment on the arms sale due to federal regulations.
Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa said his country will look elsewhere if it can’t buy rifles from the United States.
At a news conference Wednesday, dela Rosa said he had not received official notice the sale had been blocked.
“We really need those firearms for our public safety forces in the PNP,” said dela Rosa, according to CNN Philippines.