Russian Navy destroyers visit Manila

Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2017 09:41 AM | Updated as of Oct 20 2017 09:42 AM

Men and women of the Philippine Navy stand at attention while a Russian Navy ship docks at Manila South Harbor on Friday. Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News

Two Russian Navy destroyers docked at the Manila South Harbor on Friday for a goodwill visit in the country from October 20 to 26. 

The Philippine Navy said the Admiral Vinogradov (bow number 572) and Admiral Panteleyev (bow number 548) destroyers, as well as the Boris Butoma tanker, arrived in the country for a goodwill visit and handover ceremony of special military equipment that will be donated by the Russian Federation to the Philippines. 

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said Russia would provide about 5,000 assault rifles in a deal to be signed this month, and the Philippine military would no longer have to use second-hand arms.

Men and women of the Philippine Navy stand at attention while a Russian Navy ship docks at Manila South Harbor on Friday. Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News

“We will have the Kalashnikov,” he said in a speech to troops, adding that Russia wanted to keep the donation secret.

Moscow’s gift would follow China’s donation of more than 6,000 assault rifles and 100 sniper rifles, among the fruits of Duterte’s efforts to form partnerships with two arms-producing powers that are rivals to the United States.

A senior defense official earlier told Reuters the Russian weapons would be accompanied by millions of rounds of ammunition and dozens of army trucks.

The goodwill visit also coincides with the official visit to the Philippines of Russian Defense Minister Sergey K. Shoygu, who will participate in the 4th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus. The Philippines will hold this year’s meeting.