Russian ships dock as Duterte changes course

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The Philippine Navy gets a view of modern warship technology and a unique training opportunity with the visit of foreign warships, such as the missile-guided cruiser Varyag, a Navy officer has said.

There will be a shipboard tour at the missile cruiser Varyag on Saturday.

Navy Capt. Leo Ramon Miado, fleet staff for maintenance and fix, said the port call of the Russian vessels will give Filipino sailors additional insights on the other modern navy of today, aside from the usual warships of allied countries, particularly those coming from the U.S. that have been alternately docking in the country.

"The flagship of the Russian Pacific Fleet berthed here today for a four-day goodwill visit", Capt. Lued Lincuna, Navy spokesman said.

It is armed with a variety of anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-submarines missiles and gun systems.

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Navy representatives then accorded the visiting navy a welcome ceremony upon arrival followed by a port briefing related to security and health aboard one of the Russian ships.

Lincuna said the Russian warship was welcomed by the Navy's World War II vintage BRP Rajah Humabon upon her arrival in the vicinity of Corregidor island. The port call comes less than three months since the last visit from Russian warships. The Russian Cultural Dancers and Music Ensemble will also perform at the Luneta Park in Manila at 5 pm on Thursday.

The Russian Navy contingent is headed by the Varyag commanding officer and concurrent Task Group Commander, Capt. Alexsei Ulyanenko.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had invited Duterte to visit Russia back in November when they were in Lima, Peru, for the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting.

During his visit to Russian Federation, government-to-government deals on military cooperation and economic partnership are expected to be signed.