Russia giving 5,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles to the Philippines says Duterte

Vastavam web: President Rodrigo Duterte said today Russia was giving 5,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles to the Philippines in what is believed to be the first ever shipment of Russian weapons to the US ally.Duterte, who briefly visited Moscow in May as part of a pivot away from Washington, said the arms would soon arrive by ship.But the Philippine armed forces, who have been battling both communist insurgents in rural areas and Muslim extremists in the troubled south, remain among the weakest in the region.

Duterte did not say which types of rifles from the Russian manufacturer are being shipped to Manila.”As far as I can remember, the Russians have never supplied us with any form of mat riel in the past,” defence department spokesman Arsenio Andolong told AFP.Duterte, who took office last year, has shaken the Philippines’ 70-year-old alliance with the US as he moves to strengthen ties with China and Russia.The firebrand leader has sought out other sources of weapons as he angrily rejected US criticism of his deadly war on drugs that has left thousands dead.