The Russian Navy Pacific Fleet was on a 5-day goodwill visit to the Philippines aiming to bolster maritime coordination between Manila and Moscow. The Philippines Navy said the Russian Rear Admiral’s visit was “a first in the 80 years existence of the Philippine fleet. The Russian Navy on Thursday visited the Philippine Navy at its base in Cavite as part of a historic five-day visit in the country. Among events lined up during the visit were a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Monument and a series of confidence-building activities such as goodwill games, a boodle fight, and a shipboard tour, the Philippine Navy said.
The Russian Navy Pacific Fleet ships under the command of Chief of Staff of the Pacific Fleet’s Submarine Forces Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov embarked on a long voyage on October 1, 2018. The main goal of the voyage was the demonstration of St. Andrews’s flag in the Asian-Pacific region and the subsequent development of naval cooperation with the Pacific Rim countries. During this time the sailors called on ports in Sri Lanka, Japan, South Korea, Brunei, Singapore, China and India, as well as took part in the Russian-Indian military exercise “Indra Navy 2018.”.
This is the Russian Navy’s seventh visit to Manila since 2012. Its last visit was in May 2018.President Rodrigo Duterte had turned to Russia and China, rivals of the country’s closest defense ally the United States, following criticism of his war on drugs by the previous US administration. In January 2017, he visited a Russian warship that docked in Manila. Moscow and Beijing have both offered arms and other military equipment to the Philippines.