MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Three Russian navy ships arrived in the Philippines on Friday and two others are coming to deliver donated military equipment in the country's third naval visit under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has vowed to diversify the country's ties away from the United States and toward China and Russia.
Three Russian anti-submarine ships docked in Manila in time for Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's coming visit to the country, said Rear Admiral E. Mikhailov, the task force commander.
Two other vessels will be arriving Saturday at the port of Subic Bay northwest of Manila to unload donated military equipment, the Philippine Navy said in a statement.
Shoigu will be joining next week's meeting of 10 Southeast Asian defense ministers with counterparts from other countries including the U.S., Russia and China.
The Navy said the donated equipment would be handed over to Duterte, who earlier said Russia would provide 5,000 assault rifles.
"I am assuring you that we will do our best to make this port call a significant contribution to the strengthening of friendly ties and cooperation between our two nations in the interest of security and stability in the region," Mikhailov said.
This story has been corrected to show not all of the ships are docking in Manila.