Russia, Philippines further expanding ties

President Rodrigo Duterte expressed the Philippines’ willingness to expand relations with Russia particularly in area of trade. “We have started an improvement of our friendship and the plan increases of our trade, expand it and I know that your country is seriously considering all of these things and we are happy that we can find a new market in the Euro — Eurasian front,” President Duterte said in his opening remarks during his bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday, November 13.

In a bid to boost trade relations, Duterte said the government intends to set up a place in Moscow where Filipinos can showcase their products for the Russians to see them.

The President also thanked Russia for its assistance on a “crucial moment” during the rebellion in Marawi City. “We were able to use the rifles and the arms that you gave us on time,” he said.

Last month, Russian donated 5,000 units of AK-74M Kalashnikov assault rifles and one million units 1943-type cartridges with steel core bullets.

The President also brought up the topic of two Russian nationals namely Yuri Kirdyushkin and Anastasia Novopashina, who are currently detained in the Philippines due to drug-related charges.

“I would just like to say that we have a working functional justice system here and they will get a fair trial and that they will be detained in a comfortable house ,” he said, noting that their cases are still under investigation.

“Whether true or not, we will find out but I will see to it that they are treated fairly,” he added.

In response, Prime Minister Medvedev said Russia is likewise ready to expand its ties with the Philippines in the areas of politics, cultural, trade and economic cooperation.

Medvedev said Russia is also willing to boost cooperation in fight against terrorism and extremism. He noted that Russia is willing to supply more weapons for the Philippines in order to maintain peace and order.

“We’ll keep standing by your side. We’ll keep assisting you,” said Medvedev.

He then congratulated Philippines for its successful hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

He thanked Duterte for accommodating them in a late night bilateral meeting despite his very busy schedule in the ASEAN saying that it “points to a new level of partnership” between the two nations.