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PH troops to train with Russians

FILIPINO soldiers launch a joint amphibious landing with US Soldiers on the shores of Casiguran, Aurora as part of  the Civil Military activities from the sea of the 17th US-Philippines Balikatan excercises. PHOTO/ Alvin Kasiban

MB file photo





DEFENSE Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said yesterday that Fili­pino soldiers will train with their Russian counterparts as part of the country’s bid to improve military re­lations with Moscow.

Lorenzana revealed the discus­sions he had with Russian military officials, particularly with the depu­ty of Russian Defense Minister and General of the Army Sergey Shoygu, during the International Military-Technical Forum 2018 from Aug. 21 to 26. The DND chief left for Russia on Aug. 16 and is expected to be back in the country today.

Lorenzana said the Philippine Navy will hold port calls in Vladi­vostok, Russia and military exer­cises.

“May meet and greet lang kami sa Army Forum. ‘Yung deputy niya ang nakausap ko ng 20 minutes. Napag-usapan namin ang military to military relations, palitan ng mga sundalo sa military training, port visits of Navy ships to Vladivostok, and participation in military exer­cises,” Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana said the earliest ex­change of students participating in military courses will be in 2019.

“Our new defense attache in Russia Col. Dennis Pastor is look­ing at the military courses that our officers and soldiers could avail themselves of to improve our capa­bilities,” Lorenzana said. “The ear­liest exchange of students is 2019 depending on how fast they learn the Russian language,” he added.

In October last year, Lorenzana and Shoygu signed an Agreement for Military-Technical Cooperation between the two countries.

Lorenzana said he discussed with Russian military officials the coun­try’s plan to purchase submarines but a decision still has to be made on where to buy it. He also said that the country is also looking at South Korea in the purchase of sub­marines.

“There are discussions. But they know that we are shopping and has yet to decide where to buy. Korea is a candidate too but the Russian made is better and more expensive,” the Defense chief said.