Russian-Philippine relations grow stronger despite Ukraine crisis — envoy

CEBU CITY — Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov does not expect any change in foreign and trade relations between the two countries despite the crisis in Ukraine.

Pavlov described the policy of “neutrality” adopted by President Duterte as a positive approach to strengthening relations with the Russian government.

“I would like to point out, emphasize that the statement of the Philippine leaders is very balanced and very wise,” Pavlov said in an interview during his visit to Cebu on April 1.

READ: Duterte: PH should maintain neutrality in face of Russian invasion of Ukraine

He said keeping a neutral stance was a “very good way” to continue the “good” relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of the Philippines.

President Duterte earlier said the Philippines would remain neutral in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

He said he would not take sides or interfere with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Pavlov said he visited major cities and provinces in the Philippines to highlight efforts to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in terms of trade, tourism and cultural exchanges.

In Cebu, he spoke with Governor Gwen Garcia and Mayor Michael Rama about promoting cooperation agreements between Russia and the two local government units.

Pavlov said Vladivostok City would like to sign a sisterhood agreement with Cebu City.

Cebu Province, on the other hand, Pavlov said, also planned to renew its brotherhood pact with St. Petersburg.

“We would like to intensify our tourism program with Cebu destinations,” Pavlov added.

Pavlov said that once these sorority agreements are signed, they will arrange charter flights to Cebu for Russian tourists.

They would also share their technology in agriculture.

Pavlov also announced that the film “To Russia, with Love” will be released in the country as part of the cultural exchange.

The film is about a Filipina and her Russian lover.

Pavlov also assured that the agreements between the national government and the Russian Federation will also continue.

These include the purchase of helicopters, the availability of Sputnik V vaccines and in the energy sector.

Pavlov said that Russia’s Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation will continue its feasibility study with the Bataan nuclear power plant and other possible areas for nuclear energy.

Rosatom would also include a feasibility study on “floating nuclear reactors” and “small nuclear reactors” that the Philippines could use to increase its energy needs.

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Christi C. Elwood