On Tuesday, in a surprising move confirming the ongoing pivot by the Philippines away from the US sphere of geopolitical influence, and toward the China-Russia axis, the Russian destroyer Admiral Tributs and sea tanker Boris Butomato unexpectedly arrived in the Philippines to conduct military training exercises in what the Russian media described as "an unprecedented navy-to-navy contact between the two nations."
Russian destroyer Admiral Tributs has docked at the Manila South Harbor The warships arrived in the region on Tuesday as Russian Navy Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov proclaimed a joint mission between Manila and Moscow to target the region’s two most pressing security concerns, maritime piracy and terrorism. The Rear Admiral said that "we’re very sure in the future" Russia and the Philippines will "get such exercises, maybe just the maneuvering." Alternatively, "maybe just use some combat systems and so on," he noted, so as not to tip Russia’s hand concerning its regional naval strategy. A spokesman for the Philippine Navy told reporters this is the first official interaction with the Russian navy, an arch rival of its former colonial master and closest ally in the region, the United States.
Mikhailov said they were willing to help train Philippine counterparts to fight piracy and terrorism and they hope to foster stronger security in the region. Fast forward to today when Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said that he hoped Moscow, the Obama administration's sworn uber-hacking rival, would become his country's ally and protector as he toured one of the two Russian warships on a four-day visit to Manila. Duterte's remarks came a day after Russia's ambassador said his country was ready to supply the Philippines with sophisticated weapons and aims to become its close friend.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte alights from the Russian Navy vessel Admiral Tributs, a large anti-submarine ship, after his tour in metro Manila, Philippines "We welcome our Russian friends. Anytime you want to dock here for anything, for play, for replenish supplies or maybe our ally to protect us," said Duterte while shaking the hands of Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, head of the Flotilla of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet. Rear Adm. Eduard Mikhailov and Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, escorted Duterte and several cabinet members around the anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs. At one point the Philippine leader looked out from the ship's deck and pumped his fist in the air. After signing a guest book, he…