Russia's 'no strings attached' weapons better than US': envoy

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2017 05:40 PM

Buying weapons from Russia is better than procuring arms from the United States as Moscow's terms are "purely commercial" and "without strings attached," Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said on Tuesday.

"I have always believed our men and women in uniform should not be going to battle with arms attached to strings all the way from Washington," Carlos said in a press conference.

"When you buy arms in Russia, the terms are purely commercial... 

There are no conditionalities. The arms will be sold and they trust us to use it properly," Carlos added.

Last year, the US State Department halted the planned sale of some 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippine National Police after some American lawmakers said the weapons may be used in the government's campaign against illegal drug users and peddlers.

"What little armaments we got from Washington were loaded with conditionalities, human rights conditionalities," Carlos, a former DFA assistant secretary for American Affairs, said.

Russia's weapons are also more advanced than the models offered by the US to the Philippines, the ambassador said.

"It (Russian guns) will last a lot longer, and will not take long for soldiers to clean," Carlos said.

They have precision bombs, helicopters, and there are different guidance systems. If we bought it, they would train us, he added.

Russia is also interested to forming closer military ties with the Philippines by holding joint military exercises, Carlos said.

"The defense cooperation is quite limited, just exchanges with personnel, training. That doesn't mean you are preparing to be allies against common enemies," he said.