RUSSIA has no intention of forging military alliances with countries in the Asia-Pacific region including the Philippines, but is ready to become a “new partner and friend.”
Speaking during the weekly Pandesal Forum at Kamuning Bakery in Quezon City, Russian Ambassador to Manila Igor Khovaev clarified that Moscow was not looking at having a military alliance with Manila, similar to what the Philippines has with the United States.
“Russia has no military alliance in the Asia-Pacific Region and we are not going to create any military alliance,” Khovaev said.
Russia has strategic relationships with China, Vietnam and India, Khovaev said.
“Any alliance needs a common enemy and if such enemy doesn’t exist it can be imagined,” he said.
“If some countries create a close military alliance it means that they want to ensure their security at least to some extent and to the extent of the security of other members of the international community. That is not our style, it is not a way for us,” he added.
Khovaev said Russia wanted a “new architecture of equal security” in the Asia-Pacific region, but admitted it would take time for other nations to accept it.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly expressed a desire to establish new alliances for trade and commerce with China and Russia.
Duterte even ranted about the US’ supposed hypocrisy and bullying of small nations during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Lima, Peru.
Russia has “deep respect” for political leaders who are able to defend their nations’ interests, like Duterte, he said.
“I’m impressed by his (Duterte) outstanding personality and I strongly believe that our two countries have all the precondition to substantially enhance our cooperation and to become much closer to each other,” he said.
Russia is open to all investors, businessmen, and skilled workers, Khovaev said. At the same time, Russia is also willing to provide assistance to the Philippines.
As for military equipment, Russia is capable of supplying the Philippines sophisticated arms and weapons, with no political strings attached.
“We have advanced technologies, we have highly skilled engineers and workers in the said field, and we have a highly developed defense industry,” he said.
Russia however is not interested in short-term arms supplies as it wants to transfer technologies and train staff and maintenance personnel.
“We are ready to provide our partners the necessary assistance in order for them to create their own defense,” he said.
“But the very important point is that the Russian approach has no political condition. We never use military supply as an instrument to put political pressure on other sovereign [countries]. We are very sensitive in our domestic affairs and we don’t intervene with the domestic affairs of other sovereign nations,” the Russian ambassador added.
Lorenzana to shop
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is scheduled to visit Russia on December 3 to 5 to shop for arms and meet his Russian counterpart.
“We will go on shopping (for arms). We will check for war materiel that we might need. Maybe the first on our list is sniper rifles. We heard Russia’s sniper weapons are good,” Lorenzana told reporters at the sidelines of the 77th anniversary celebration of the Department of National Defense.