PH, Russia defense chiefs meet for increased security cooperation
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recently met with his Russian counterpart, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
A media release said Lorenzana had his first bilateral meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu last April 26 at the sidelines of the Moscow Conference on International Security.
“Secretary Lorenzana and Defense Minister Shoygu welcomed the positive developments in the bilateral relations and agreed to further bolster cooperation in the defense and security sphere,” DFA said.
Lorenzana was quoted saying that while the Philippines and Russia have had good relations, “it is only now that we are set to substantiate our relations especially in the area of defense.”
The Philippines has long been known as a close ally of the United States, which has strained relations with Russia. However, the Philippines has experienced warmer relations with Russia after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed willingness to explore closer ties. Last year, when the US state department stopped the planned sale of assault rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Duterte said he could easily go to Russia or China for weapons.
After that, Russia’s largest arms manufacturer held a briefing for the Philippine Embassy in Moscow on their different assault rifles.
Lorenzana said that the Department of National Defense is ready to finalize a framework agreement with the Russian Federation’s Minisitry of Defense when Duterte visits Moscow next month.
“The Philippines looks forward to enhanced security and defense engagement in terms of training, exchange of information and expertise, and port calls, among others,” DFA said.
Shoygu was quoted saying that Russia is “encouraged by the progressive development of Russian-Philippine relations in the defense field.” He attributed the warmer relations between the two countries to the meeting of Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru last November.
Just last week, the flagship vessel of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet had a 4-day port call in Manila.
The DFA said 20 members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) visited Moscow earlier this year to attend a VIP Protection Training Program with the Federal Protective Service of the Russian Federation. JE
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