Phl-Russia defense officials convene JWG
Philippine and Russian defense officials convened a Joint Working Group (JWG) in Moscow on Friday, paving the way for the conduct of increased defense and military-to-military engagements between the two countries starting next year.
The defense meeting, the second since the forging last year of a defense cooperation agreement between the Philippines and the Russian Federation, led to the signing of the terms of reference of the JWG.
“The JWG serves as a platform for both counties to discuss military-to-military engagements or activities,” a statement released yesterday by defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong said.
The Moscow meeting was in accordance with the 2017 Agreement on Defense Cooperation between the Department of National Defense (DND) of the Philippines and the Ministry of Defense (MOD) of the Russian Federation.
At the meeting, Assistant Secretary for assessments and international affairs Teodoro Cirilo Torralba III and Col. Maxim Vladimirovich Penkin agreed to conduct highlevel defense and military-to-military engagements next year.
“Both sides agreed to conduct in 2019 high-level exchanges, port visits of Navy vessels, attendance in conferences/fora, general staff consultations, cooperation and security consultations, reciprocal visits of delegations and observers for military training activities and education and training exchanges,” Andolong said.
Earlier, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev declared that with the highly-improved relations between Moscow and Manila, his country is more than willing to provide the Philippines with key military platforms in line with the ongoing modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Khovaev said the Russian military is open to joint exercises with their Filipino counterparts, a yearly event that is being held in the Philippines between Filipino and American troops, as well as other allied states. Khovaev issued the remark during a welcome ceremony early this month for the returning Philippine Navy contingent aboard the BRP Tarlac, which came from a five-day historic port visit to Vladisvostok.