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Procurement of Russian subs still under study — Lorenzana

/ 04:32 PM August 17, 2018
Rodrigo Duterte Eduard Mikhailov anti-submarine navy ship

Russia’s Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov (R) leads the way as he guides President Rodrigo Duterte (2nd L) onboard the Russian anti-submarine navy ship Admiral Tributs in Manila on January 6, 2017. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Noel CELIS

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday said the department is still studying the possible procurement of submarines from Russia after a US Defense official expressed concern that it may hurt the long-standing alliance with the United States.

“While our acquisition of submarines for the Philippine Navy is still under study and nothing is final at this point, we emphasize that the Defense department will procure equipment that is most advantageous for the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said in a statement.

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The Defense chief earlier said that the Russia is one of the potential suppliers of submarines, including South Korea, France and Germany.

While US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver said that the US understands that the Philippines wants to have friendly ties with Moscow and Beijing, buying weapons systems and major platforms is not just about buying capabilities but building a relationship.

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He cited Russia’s “laundry list” including Crimea, Ukraine and the chemical attack in UK.

The US and the Philippines have decades-long alliance. But when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, he alienated the US and steered the country closer toward China and Russia as part of his independent foreign policy.

Duterte also earlier expressed interest to acquire submarines from Russia.

Lorenzana said they will acquire military equipment from any country as long as it follows the proper process of procurement of Philippine laws and meets the requirements of end users.

“In the case of the planned submarine purchase, we will consider any and all offers,” he said.

He said the DND will continue to honor all alliances and international partnerships through the conduct of international defense and security engagements.

Schriver said Thursday that the Philippines should be “very careful” in buying Russian weapons and platforms. /jpv

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