Latest: 3 Russian ships dock in Manila for 5-day goodwill visit

The Russian Navy’s anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs and Admiral Vinogradov, and large sea tanker Irkut docked on Monday in Manila for a five-day goodwill visit.

This is the second visit by the Russian warships in the country this year as Manila and Moscow inked agreement to strengthen their military-to-military cooperation.

In January, the guided missile cruiser Varyag, the flagship of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev and the large sea tanker Bris Butoma also docked in Manila for a six-day “unofficial” visit.

“The arrival of our Russian Navy counterparts underscores the continuing efforts to further strengthen the relationship between our government and navies,” Philippine Navy (PN) Staff Officer for Education and Training Capt. Constancio Reyes said, adding that the visit “will further enhance and sustain the promotion of peace and stability and maritime cooperation.”

The head of the mission, Russian Navy Capt. Sergey Alantiev, will pay a courtesy call on PN Chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.

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

The visit of the Russian warships reciprocates last year’s visit of the PN’s BRP Tarlac to Russia’s Pacific Fleet headquarters in Vladivostok. The visit also came less than a month after the visit of Russian Navy Chief Adm. Vladimir Korolyov in Manila in March.

The visit by the Russian Navy ships this month is the eighth to the Philippines and the sixth under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in June 2016.