The Philippine Navy will soon make its historic first port call to Russia, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed.
“We’re just reciprocating their gestures. They visited us twice,” he told reporters in a press briefing on Thursday afternoon.
The port visit would likely be in Vladivostok, a major port close to the borders of China and Korean Peninsula.
“The nearest port from here is Vladivostok, that’s only about four hours away by plane. Russia is from Europe to Asia spanning 13 time zones. We’ll go to Vladivostok,” Lorenzana said.
The defense chief did not disclose other details about the visit.
The Philippines and Russia’s defense ties have been growing. President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called independent foreign policy has been favorable to countries like China and Russia.
The last visit of Russian Navy vessels into the country was in June for a five-day port call. Aside from port visits, the two countries also signed a new military pact in 2017. Russia also donated assault rifles and trucks to the Philippine government.
Lorenzana said Russia is also being considered as one of the potential suppliers of the country’s first ever submarines.
“More likely we’ll buy from them but we are still studying it. Russia is willing to sell us their kilo-class submarines,” he said, adding that the possible supplier is also offering a loan for the purchase.
“Ayon kay Presidente bibili talaga tayo ng submarine….Within the next 12 months ma-finalize yan. Pag napirmahan, it will take them four years to make. So ang delivery tapos na ang term ni Presidente,” he said. /kga
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