Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reaffirmed his administration's ties with Russia in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Thursday.
In his opening statement, Duterte thanked Putin for inviting him to Russia to attend the Valdai Forum.
"I am here today to reaffirm our strong commitment and to build a robust and comprehensive partnership with the Russian Federation. In the past two years, we have seen a dramatic increase in bilateral activities across many areas of cooperation at various levels of government," he said.
Duterte also mentioned the progress of Philippines-Russia relations since his trip in 2017.
Important developments include the port calls of the two navies, as well as the opening of defense attaches in both countries, he said.
"We have also made historic firsts in the key strategic areas from economic defense, security and military technical cooperation," Duterte added.
"In 2018, BRP Tarlac made a port call at Vladivostok, the first ever by Philippine Navy. This was highly a political issue and importance given that a few years back this would have been unthinkable," he added.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the meeting between the two leaders is one of the official significant highlights of Duterte's trip to Russia.
"The Palace considers this meeting as one of the significant highlights of PRRD's official trip to Russia, and we look forward to the President's participation in the subsequent events that will be held both here in Sochi and in Moscow," Panelo said in a statement.