By Ranz Lewin Embudo/Manila Times
Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev over the weekend said Moscow had expressed interest to help the Philippines acquire advance technologies to develop capabilities in defending itself and in exploring the South China (West Philippine) Sea.
Russia, according to Khovaev, wanted to help the Philippines in upgrading its defensive capabilities with military hardware, including rifles and armoured vehicles, and through joint naval exercises. “We offer the same technologies we use in our country. That’s why we are ready to help your country. But I would like to repeat, that’s up to you, Filipinos, to decide which option is the most convenient for you,” he said.
Khovaev added that Moscow would give brand-new and sophisticated technologies to help develop the Philippines’ military capability.
The ambassador said this assistance would be done in “full compliance with international law” to promote stability and peace in the region.
He added that no other country could offer such help because Russia’s production of defence equipment is “based on Russian technologies.”
“Boost your defence capabilities to help your country (become) more efficient against terrorism,” Khovaev said, noting that terrorism is a threat to all countries.
Russia expressed its interest in exploring the South China Sea during a bilateral meeting between President Rodrgio Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin held in Moscow last October 2.
The ambassador invited Philippine companies to explore Ruussia’s oil and natural gas resources.
“It is a unique offer to the Philippines. No other country can ever make a similar offer,” he said.
“We offer not only true oil and natural gas. We also offer the locals, oil products and liquefied natural gas. We are ready to help your country increase (its capability to produce) electricity,” the ambassador added.
Meanwhile, he assured that Russia would offer more jobs for overseas Filipino workers.
“Filipino workers are most welcome, we need Filipinos for the development of our economy,” Khovaev said.
He pointed out that the Philippines is a “friendly country and the new partner of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region.”
“I would like to say we are working with Philippine partners, at all levels, experts, and with government officials,” Khovaev said.