Ukraine foreign minister may visit PH this year - official

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) -- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba may soon visit the Philippines as part of Ukraine's commitment to boost bilateral ties between the two countries at the backdrop of an ongoing Russian invasion.

"We hope that there will be a visit by our foreign minister this year and if there are budget by that time, we hope the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will open the door of the embassy," Ukrainian Embassy in Malaysia Charges d'Affaires Denys Mykhailiuk said in a press briefing in Manila.

The Ukrainian official, however, did not give further details on Kuleba's trip.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government said it will also explore the possibility of tapping the Philippine labor force once its war recovery and rebuilding efforts go full swing.

"We will begin talks about Filipino labor to come to Ukraine because this reconstruction effort will need significant increase in labor. Hardworking Filipinos will be very welcomed there to benefit our growth and Filipino investors will be very much welcome," Mykhailiuk said.

He added that these are just initial proposals and will be thoroughly discussed with their Philippine counterparts.

For now, Mykhailiuk said Ukraine is safe for businesses and investors despite clashes with Russian forces in the southeastern portion of country.

"The country is relatively safe. We want to establish the conditions for investors to come," he noted.

Mykhailiuk met with the Department of Information and Communications Technology to discuss possible cooperation in the IT sector - part of Ukraine's economy that experienced growth even during the war.

Ukraine also wants the Philippines to support its grains initiative which would help the nation's economy and trade, according to the official.

"We call on the Philippines to buy this Ukrainian grain and it will help to boost our trade because it dropped to 94% since the war started," Mykhailiuk stressed.