Russian navy ships leave after five-day port visit
Two Russian navy vessels left Manila after a passing activity conducted with the Philippine Navy on Saturday morning.
Captain Lued Lincuna, spokesman of the Philippine Navy, said the passing exercises were conducted by the Philippine and Russian ships around 9am.
"Yes (it was conducted) around 9am at the vicinity of Manila Bay," Lincuna said in a text message to the Daily Manila Shimbun.
Lincuna said the passing exercise that includes communication and manuevering exercises were successful although the Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev admitted in previous interview the equipment of Philippine and Russian navies have "different technical standards".
During the passing exercise, Philippine Navy ship BRP Humabon (PF-11) escorted the Admiral Tributs, a Russian anti-submarine ship and Boris Butoma, a large sea tanker on their way out of the Philippine territorial waters.
The Russian Navy vessels arrived early this week for a five-day port visit.
During their port call, Admiral Tributs was visited by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and other government officials last Friday.
Malacanang said the Philippines is starting to widen its borders of support.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a radio interview, said the country is having a break in mentality our source of support comes from only one country.
"What we're saying is we are having in a sense, we are having a break in our mentality that our source of security comes only from one particular country. In other words, our borders of support is broadening and widening," Abella explained.
“What the president is saying is we are beginning to recognize that our borders are not necessarily limited or confined to simply one country or one geopolitical force," he added.
Abella said signing of a memorandum of understanding with Russia will not be limited to defense and will cover all areas of engagement.
"It covers all areas of engagement including cultural, including military-to-military, that's why there is student exchange. Memorandum of Understanding has a wide coverage and it may be part of that," he said.
He said the Aquino administration has initiated improving relationships with Russia.
"There is a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014 during the Aquino administration, they are the one who started it, the relationships and we recognize that," Abella said. He added defense matters may be part of Duterte's visit to Russia this year. Robina Asido, Carmela Dionisio/DMS