Russia Grants Arms to the Philippines, Americans Assume No Problem
MANILA – Thousands of assault rifles and helmets are part of Russian military equipment donated to the Philippines. The move is part of Russia’s efforts to expand its weapons market in Southeast Asia, as Manila wants to diversify its weapons systems.
Manila received about 5,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 5,000 steel helmets, about 1 million ammunition for the rifle, and 20 military trucks, in a ceremony attended by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte while visiting one of five Russian warships stopping in the Philippines. The grant comes a day after Russia and the Philippines signed two military pacts, including a sales contract with Rosoboronexport, a defense equipment vendor owned by Russian authorities.
“We want some equipment for humanitarian aid and disaster recovery operations, but nothing specific now, we are still in discussion,” Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana told Reuters news agency.
Lorenzana explains, Rosoboronexport contact is not a sales deal, but the signal the desire of the Philippines has small arms, vehicles, and special equipment for disaster operations. However, the largest source of ordnance of the Philippines, the United States (US), is not worried about the prospects of equipment donated by China and Russia.
“This is a sovereign decision by the Philippines, so this is not a big deal, other countries come to help them,” said Mattis.
The US and China dominate regional arms trade. Since 2000, the US has donated military equipment to the Philippines worth up to $ 1 billion. The donation is a reconnaissance aircraft, drone, and ship for small arms.
China promised a donation of shipping three small weapons after a meeting between Lorenzana and Chinese Defense Minister General Chang Wanquan. Beijing has provided a small arms to the Philippines worth $ 7 million.
The deal with the Philippines will allow Russia to expand its weapons market in the region. The Philippines is now open to buy Russian weapons as Manila approaches Moscow. Sources of Philippine officials explained, this step of Manila as military efforts to diversify its equipment and maintain its quality.
“Moscow has offered to sell our armaments since the mid-1990s and they want to barter weapons with bananas,” he said.
Russia also sells submarines, fighters and helicopters to the Philippines. Meanwhile US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis praised the stronger Filipino soldiers.
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