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Russia reiterates willingness to boost PH defense capabilities

September 26, 2019 - Thursday 9:09 AM by PNA

Article Banner Image President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. chat with Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev who paid a courtesy call on the President at the Malacañan Palace on January 31, 2019. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA -- The Russian government on Wednesday reiterated its commitment to help the Philippines strengthen its defense capabilities ahead of the second visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to Russia on October 1.

"Our country is committed to helping the Philippines increase defense capabilities," Ambassador Igor Khovaev told reporters during a press conference at his residence in Makati City.

"We are open to many options, we are ready to supply sophisticated arms and weapons to help the country in staff training, (on) joint drills and exercises we are ready to coordinate our efforts, and of course we want to transfer our best technologies in all of the developing countries," he said.

One of the common threats faced by both Russia and the Philippines is terrorism. To recall, Duterte's first visit to Russia in 2017 was cut short after violent extremists belonging to the Maute group attacked and seized Marawi City.

The engagement between the two nations in the field of defense has improved over the past few years after the signing of the Philippine-Russia Agreement on Defense Cooperation and the Agreement on Military-Technical Cooperation in 2017.

In the chief executive's upcoming Russia trip, Khovaev said Moscow is hoping to "diversify" its cooperation with Manila.

The envoy said Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Sochi and are expected to sign "a number of agreements". (PNA)