MANILA— Russian Federation Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev on Saturday confirmed that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is set to visit Manila on Oct. 23 to discuss the supply of Russian military equipment to the Philippines.
Khovaev said Minister Shoigu will hand over the Russian military donation to the Philippines such as small arms, military weapons, and other equipment, including army trucks.
Discussions on establishing a legal framework for the transfer of military supplies and equipment are ongoing, but Khovaev said he does not see any problem that may hamper the document’s creation.
“I don’t see real difficulties, of course there are some issues to resolve, I have only one problem, the lack of knowledge about each other,” Khovaev told reporters aboard Russian destroyer Admiral Panteleyev.
“We expect a few contracts on the supply of Russian military equipment to the Philippines to be signed during the upcoming visit of the Russian Defense Minister Shoigi. It will be the first ever visit of the minister to this country, it’s a historic event,” he added.
A detachment of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet, consisting of the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev and large tanker Voris Butoma, arrived at the port of Manila on Oct. 20 ahead of Minister Shoigu’s trip.
During a press conference with Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, Deputy Commander of Flotilla of the Russian Pacific Fleet and the Detachment Flag Officer, Khovaev confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will also tour the destroyer on Oct. 26, the departure date of the detachment.
The third Russian port visit to Manila this year comes following President Duterte’s move to forge better bilateral relationship with Russia.
‘NO HIDDEN AGENDA’
Citing the need to “intensify” the people-to-people context of Manila and Moscow’s ties, Khovaev asked Filipinos to dismiss misconceptions against Russia.
He stressed that the cooperation Moscow is offering Manila has “no hidden agenda” attached to it.
“The Philippines and Russia are on the right track. I am confirming once again that the Russian Federation is open to consider all bilateral cooperation on military and technical field, we fully support your fight against terrorism, we are ready to extend help to the country,” he said.
“If we extend our help to you, we are doing that with sincere wishes, we have no hidden agenda,” he added.
The Russian envoy also noted that any cooperation on any field “will have no political conditionalities.”
“That’s a fundamental principle of our military policy, our military cooperation with all interested foreign partners,” he said.
“I have already stressed that our country is ready to help the Philippines in your legitimate fight against terrorism. I would like to take this opportunity also to congratulate all of you on the liberation of the city of Marawi in Mindanao,” he added. (