Despite a warning from the US, Lorenzana in Moscow to shop for subs and choppers

Despite a warning from the US, Lorenzana in Moscow to shop for subs and choppers

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is now at Moscow, Russia.

Upon the invitation of Russian Defense Mnister Sergey Shoygu,he is there to discuss possible areas of cooperation and expansion of the Philippines’ existing defense agreements with Russia.

Department of Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said that : “The SND (Secretary of National Defense) is in Moscow upon the invitation of Russian Defense Minister and General of the Army Sergey Shoygu. He is reciprocating the visit which the latter recently paid him in the Philippines,”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (photo credit to MB)

The two are expected to discuss possible cooperation between the DND and the Russian Defense Ministry.

“They will discuss possible areas in which cooperation between the defense establishments of the Philippines and Russia may be developed and deepened,” Andolong added.

Lorenzana in a separate statement gave this response as to why he is in Russia, “To look at some defense equipment they are offering: like submarines, helicopters,”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s independent foreign policy gave way last October for the signing between the two countries of the Agreement for Military-Technical Cooperation between the two countries.

The document contained provisions on various areas of military and technical cooperation such as research, production support, as well as possible exchange of experts and training of personnel for joint programs.

Despite US warning

Last week, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver visited the country recently said purchasing major Russian equipment does not help ties with Washington.

If they proceed with purchasing major Russian equipment, I don’t think that’s a helpful thing to the alliance,” Schriver said.

“I mean, let us understand the nature of this regime in Russia. I don’t need to go to the full laundry list—Crimea, Ukraine, the chemical attack in the UK [United Kingdom],” Schriver added.

“So you are investing in not only platforms but making a statement about our relationship,” he said.

PH will honor existing alliances

Andolong made it clear that despite entertaining offers from Russia, the defense department will honor its alliances and international partnerships through the conduct of international defense and security engagements.

The DND said it will procure equipment that is most advantageous for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through its Modernization Program but the United States expressed alarm over the government’s plan to acquire submarines from Russia.

“We will acquire equipment from any country as long as the procurement follows the proper process as provided for under Philippine laws, and the equipment meets the requirements of its end users. In the case of the planned submarine purchase, we will consider any and all offers,” Andolong said.

Russia has been aggressive in marketing its Kilo-class submarines to the Philippines , the Putin lead state is more than willing to provide “soft loans” just for the Philippines to acquire the Kilo-class submarines, that  can be armed with a variety of torpedoes, missiles, and naval mines and have a cruising range of around 6,000 to 7,500 nautical miles.

The DND Chief said President Duterte wanted to acquire 2 submarines from Russia, and is also looking at the offer of South Korea with its chan-bogo class submarines.


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Report from Manila Bulletin

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