Russian warship visits port of Manila

Russian sailors of the missile cruiser Varyag stand next to the missile launch pad as the vessel arrives at South Harbor in Manila yesterday. Photo by AFP via philstar.com

By Jaime Laude/The Philippine Star – The commander of the Russian guided-missile cruiser warship described yesterday their four-day port call in Manila as a very important mission for the Russian Pacific Fleet.

Capt. Alexsei Ulyanenko, Varyag’s commander, issued the brief statement shortly after docking his Slava-class warship at Manila’s Pier 15 yesterday morning.

“This courtesy call is very important to us. So we had the Pacific Fleet,“ Ulyanenko, through an interpreter, told local journalists who asked him the significance of their visit to the country, the second this year by Russian warships.

Arriving along with Varyag is the fuel tanker Pechenga.

Navy Capt. Leo Ramon Miado, fleet staff for maintenance and repair, 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 US that have been alternately docking in the country.

One of the three remaining Slava-class warships that are still in operation in the Russian Navy, the Varyag is deployed in the Pacific Ocean under its Pacific Fleet that is headquartered in Vladivostok.

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

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.

Similar to the previous visit of Russia’s warship Admiral Tributs, Russian sailors aboard Varyag are also scheduled to undertake a series of goodwill activities, to include a courtesy call on Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado.

Other activities include a wreath laying ceremony, receptions, Russian cultural show in Rizal Park, goodwill games and shipboard tour for civilians.

“The engagement between the Philippine and Russian navies will culminate with a send-off ceremony and a customary Passing Exercise between the visiting ships and FF11 at the vicinity of Corregidor Island,” Lincuna said.

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