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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte congratulated outgoing Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev on his successful tour of duty during the latter’s farewell call in Malacañang on Wednesday.

Duterte cited Khovaev’s role in helping redefine and reinvigorate Philippines-Russia relations in line with the administration’s independent foreign policy thrust.

During Khovaev’s stint, the bilateral partnership between the two countries strengthened, particularly in the areas of defense and security, trade and economic cooperation, science and technology, and health.

“President Duterte particularly noted Ambassador Khovaev’s role in facilitating confidence-building activities between Philippine and Russian defense establishments through the exchange of goodwill naval visits and training of Philippine law enforcement personnel, among other joint activities,” a statement from the Office of the President read.

The Chief Executive also conferred on Khovaev the Order of Sikatuna, with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross), Gold Distinction.

For his part, Khovaev reaffirmed Russia’s long-term commitment to boost cooperation in areas including trade and investment, defense and security, and public health, specifically in the common fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The ambassador also welcomed the “upward trajectory” of the Philippines-Russia ties under Duterte’s independent foreign policy.

He likewise thanked the President for the positive momentum in bilateral relations capped by multiple meetings between Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin.


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