MANILA, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Three Russian Navy warships docked at the South Harbor in Manila on Sunday for a six-day visit to the Philippines, the Philippine Navy and the Russian Embassy in Manila said.
Guided missile cruiser Varyag, the flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev and large sea tanker Bris Butoma arrived in Manila on Sunday morning, the first foreign ships to pay a visit to the country this year.
The Russian Embassy in Manila said in a statement that the purpose of the unofficial visit aims to further enhance the naval cooperation between the Philippine and Russian navies.
"The continuation of mutual friendly port calls fills us with confidence for peace and stability and further fruitful cooperation between Russia and the Philippines," the statement said.
Philippine Navy spokesman Cdr. Jonathan Zata said the visit will "further enhance and sustain the promotion of peace, stability and maritime cooperation of the two countries, through naval diplomacy and camaraderie."
Zata said the visit of the Russian warships this year is the seventh since 2012. Most of these visits occurred during President Rodrigo Duterte's government.
In October last year, a Philippine Navy warship made its first ever port visit to Vladivostok, Russia. Philippine defense and Navy officials said they were mulling sending another ship to St. Petersburg.
Zata said Admiral Varyag and Boris Butoma were among the Russian ships that visited the country last year. He said this is the first time Admiral Panteleev visited the Philippines.
The Russian sailors, led by Rear Edward Mikhailov, will be sent off on Jan. 11. Zata said a customary passing exercise with Philippine Navy ships will cap the visit of the Russian warships.