Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev 

MANILA — Russia will be deploying one of its submarines for the International Fleet Review (IFR) in the Philippines this May, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev confirmed.

"Yes, for the first time but as partners and friends. I would be happy to invite you to visit the Russian submarine just to communicate with the Russian seamen and you will see that all of them are normal friendly people. So Russians are coming but as friends and partners," he said in an interview during the reception of the Russian Armed Forces Day on Monday.

The vessel would be part of a detachment of Russian naval ships, said Khovaev.

The IFR, to be held in Manila Bay waters near Corregidor and Bataan, is an international maritime exercise that aims to strengthen mutual trust and confidence as well as cooperation among navies from around the world.

READ: BRP Jose Rizal to lead PH contingent in Int'l Fleet Review

The event is one of the highlights of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) which the Philippines is hosting for the first time from May 19 to 21.

Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo earlier said the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) will lead the Philippine Navy (PN) contingent to IFR.

Bacordo estimated that at least 24 navies and their representatives will attend the WPNS and IFR. (PNA)