Russian navy visits Philippines and Indonesia

Tuesday, 3 January, 2017 - 10:15

Admiral Tributs, an anti-submarine vessel, and a sea tanker Boris Butoma, arrived late on Tuesday for a four-day goodwill visit, with its crew expected to demonstrate anti-terrorism capability and hold talks, said Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, head of the Flotilla of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet.

"Our governments will maybe discuss in some period of time the possibilities of our maritime exercises," Mikhailov told a news conference, adding Russia has been holding drills with the Indonesian navy.

"The biggest problem now in the world is terrorism and piracy, and all our exercises we have, for example, with you we will have to fight these problems and we will show you what we can do and we will see what you can do and show us," he added as the Russian navy showcased the warships.

A spokesman for the Philippine Navy told reporters this is the first official interaction with the Russian navy, an arch rival of its former colonial master and closest ally in the region, the United States.

Washington and the Philippines have been holding naval exercises annually but Duterte has instructed the defense ministry to "reformat" drills with Washington, moving away from the South China Sea to repair relations with China.

Mikhailov said they were willing to help train Philippine counterparts to fight piracy and terrorism and they hope to foster stronger security in the region.