Russia warns ‘traditional’ PH partners: Don’t interfere

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Russia warns ‘traditional’ PH partners: Don’t interfere
'I think it's time to get rid of outdated leashes. It's time to get rid of prejudices,' says Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev

MANILA, Philippines – Russia warned the Philippines’ “traditional partners” on Wednesday, January 4, against interfering in Manila’s improving ties with Moscow. 

In a news conference, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev said, “We will not tolerate any attempt of any third country to interfere in the relations of our two sovereign states, the Philippines and Russia.”

“We don’t interfere into your relations with your traditional partners, and your traditional partners should respect the interests of the Philippines and Russia,” Khovaev added.

The ambassador was responding to a question about his statement on the need to get rid of “outdated leashes,” in the context of the Philippines’ traditional partnership with the United States. 

Khovaev held the news conference aboard the large Russian anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs, which is in the Philippines for a goodwill visit from Monday to Saturday, January 2 to 7.

(Watch the news conference below)

‘Diversify’ partners, Philippines urged

President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking better ties with Russia as well as China, while he is moving away from the Philippines’ traditional alliance with the US. 

The Duterte administration, for one, said the Philippines should stop its subservience to the US, its former colonizer.

On the Philippines’ traditional partners, Khovaev said, “I think it’s time to get rid of outdated leashes. It’s time to get rid of prejudices.” 

“For the Philippines, there is an objective need to diversify the range of the circle of your foreign partners. We are talking about diversification. It’s not a choice between these partners and those ones,” the ambassador added.

Along with the Russian vessel Admiral Tributs, the large sea tanker Boris Butoma is docked in Manila until Saturday.

This is the third time a Russian navy vessel has visited the Philippines, the Philippine Navy said. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email