3 Russian ships dock in Manila for goodwill visit

THREE ships from the Russian Pacific Fleet docked at Pier 15 yesterday to bolster naval cooperation with its Filipino counterparts.

“The main objective (of this visit) is to enhance our naval cooperation,” Russian head of mission Captain Sergey Alantiev told reporters.

This is the second time that the Russian ships made a port call after their first visit in January 2018.

During their  five-day stay in Manila, Russian navies will engage in joint drills on navigation and communication as well as special trainings with the quick response forces of the Philippines.

Alantiev said the port call  of  large anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs and Vinogradov, as well as the large sea tanker Irkut, serves as “clear evidence” to the implementation of relevant bilateral agreements between the two governments.

“Such port calls make tangible contribution to the peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region. I strongly believe that only by combining our resources and efforts can we cope with present-day threats and challenges,” he said.

Philippine officials believed the presence of the Russian Navy contingents in the country demonstrates continuing efforts to further strengthen the relationship between the two nations and its navies.

“This will further enhance and sustain the promotion of peace, stability and maritime cooperation,” said Captain Constancio Arturo Reyes Jr., representative of Philippine Flag Officer in Command.

“We are looking forward to strengthening this bilateral relationship to the next level,” he added.

Aside from joint drills, the visiting navy and their Filipino counterparts will engage in confidence-building activities such as ship tours and sports events.

Alantiev, along with the commanding officers of the three vessels are scheduled for a courtesy call on Flag Officer in Command Philippine Navy Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad.

He said the visit is also “symbolic,” timed on the eve of the Araw ng Kagitingan or Philippine Day of Valor.

“We consider it an honor to give respect to the World War II veterans of the Philippines,” he said, sharing Russia was deeply affected by the second World War and that their respect for the veterans is “timeless.”

“Their deeds are among the fundamental values that unite the Russian societies at all levels,” he said.