Russia will give the Philippines military around 5,000 Kalashnikov rifles for free to replace aging weapons used by soldiers battling Islamic militants.
The news comes after President Rodrigo Duterte has already convinced the Chinese to donate 6,000 assault rifles as part of his drive to move the country away from dependence on US supplies.
“We will have the Kalashnikov,” Duterte said in a speech to troops, adding that Russia wanted to keep the donation secret.
The United States has for decades been the Philippines’ defence treaty ally and its biggest source or hardware and training, providing about $1 billion in equipment since 2000.
Five Russian warships will bring the guns as well as millions of rounds of ammunition and dozens of trucks, sources told Reuters.
Duterte said the military needed to be properly equipped to handle Islamic State loyalists who had established a dangerous foothold in Mindanao in the south.
“They will not disappear, they will regroup anywhere and everywhere,” Duterte said.