Moscow to supply state-of-the-art weapons to Manila

Russian soldiers ride on military armoured personnel carriers on a road near the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 10, 2014. (REUTERS)
Updated 05 September 2019

Moscow to supply state-of-the-art weapons to Manila

  • Russia sends defense attache to the Philippines to bolster bilateral ties

MANILA: In a bid to boost the capabilities of the Philippines’ military, Russia said on Wednesday that it will supply the country’s armed forces with brand new, state-of-the-art weapons and equipment. The move follows a reaffirmation by both countries to strengthen defense cooperation in order to contribute toward lasting peace and stability in the region.
“We are ready to supply sophisticated arms and weapons in order to improve the capabilities of the Philippines’ armed forces. We are open to joint training sessions, joint drills and military exercises,” Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev told Arab News at a reception held for the opening of the Office of the Russian Defense Attaché in Manila on Tuesday.
“We offer advanced defense equipment. And if we say that we are ready and want to help your country, to improve your defense capabilities, it means in particular that we are ready to supply sophisticated arms and weapons,” he said.
Recently, Khovaev and the head of Russia’s state arms exporter, Alexander Mikheyev, met with the Philippines’ president, Rodrigo Duterte, in Malacañang where they discussed prospects for defense cooperation, especially in combating religious extremism.
“Russia suffered a lot from terrorism. So we know very well what it means. We have a lot of experience and we are ready to share our experience with our partners and friends,” Khovaev said. “We are ready to use all ways and means in order to strengthen military defense ties between our two countries. “It is in the strategic national interest of both Russians and Filipinos.”

HIGHLIGHT

It marks the first time in more than 40 years of Philippines and Russian bilateral relations that Moscow has designated a resident defense attaché to Manila, and follows the deployment of Manila’s first defense attaché to Russia in May last year.

During the reception, Khovaev introduced Col. Dmitry Nikitin, the first Russian defense attaché to the Philippines.
It marks the first time in more than 40 years of Philippines and Russian bilateral relations that Moscow has designated a resident defense attaché to Manila, and follows the deployment of Manila’s first defense attaché to Russia in May last year.
“It was a very meaningful event because it opens up new horizons for bilateral cooperation, particularly in the most sensitive field of defense and national security,” Khovaev said.
“Russia is extending the hand of help to our Philippine partners in mutual defense and security. So it really shows that we are ready to become a reliable partner and close friend for Filipinos,” he added.
“We are now living in a world where all of us depend on each other. No country, big or small, is able to ensure its security and defense on its own simply because the current challenges and threats are transboundary.”
Philippines Defense Undersecretary Raymundo Elefante welcomed the development saying that he is optimistic about stronger military ties between the Manila and Moscow.
“It will be a long journey but I think this relationship will be a very good opportunity,” he said.


Black man dies after video shows officer kneeling on neck

Updated 17 min 2 sec ago

Black man dies after video shows officer kneeling on neck

  • George Floyd pleaded he could not breathe as officer knelt on his neck during arrest – officer kept knee on neck after Floyd stopped moving
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey apologized to the black community Tuesday in a post on his Facebook page

MINNEAPOLIS: A black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis was seen on a bystander’s video pleading that he could not breathe as a white officer knelt on his neck during the arrest and kept his knee there for several minutes after the man stopped moving.
The death Monday night after a struggle with officers was under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement authorities. It drew comparisons to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey apologized to the black community Tuesday in a post on his Facebook page.
“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a Black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” Frey posted.
Police said the man matched the description of a suspect in a forgery case and resisted arrest. The video shows an unidentified officer kneeling on his neck and ignoring his pleas. “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,” the man is heard telling the officer.
After several minutes, one of the officers tells the man to “relax.” “Man, I can’t breathe,” he responds. Minutes pass and the man becomes motionless under the officer’s restraint. The officer leaves his knee on the man’s neck for several minutes more.
Several witnesses had gathered on a nearby sidewalk, with some recording on their phones. Bystanders became increasing agitated as the man pleaded with police. One bystander tells officers that they need to let him breathe. Another yells at them to check the man’s pulse.
The man who died was identified as George Floyd by Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney who said he had been hired by Floyd’s family.
“We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him into the police car and get off his neck,” Crump said in a statement. “This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge.”
Asked by reporters about the use of the knee on the man’s neck, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the department has “policies in place regarding placing someone under control” that “will be part of the full investigation we’ll do internally.”
The New York City officer in the Garner case said he was using a legal maneuver called “the seatbelt” to bring down Garner, whom police said had been resisting arrest. But the medical examiner referred to it as a chokehold in the autopsy report and said it contributed to his death. Chokehold maneuvers are banned under New York police policy.
In Minneapolis, kneeling on a suspect’s neck is allowed under the department’s use-of-force policy for officers who have received training in how to compress a neck without applying direct pressure to the airway. It is considered a “non-deadly force option,” according to the department’s policy handbook.
A chokehold is considered a deadly force option and involves someone obstructing the airway. According to the department’s use-of-force policy, officers are to use only an amount of force necessary that would be objectively reasonable.
The police union asked the public to wait for the investigation to take its course and not to “rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers.” The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which would handle any prosecution of police on state charges, said in a statement that it was “shocked and saddened” by the video and pledged to handle the case fairly. The US Attorney’s Office in Minnesota declined comment.
Nekima Levy-Armstrong, a prominent local activist, told the Star Tribune that watching the footage that was shared on social media made her “sick to her stomach” and reminded her of the Garner case. A grand jury later decided against indicting the officers involved in Garner’s death, sparking protests around the country.
The man’s death in Minneapolis also came amid outrage over the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was fatally shot Feb. 23 in Georgia after a white father and son pursued the 25-year-old black man they had spotted running in their subdivision. More than two months passed before charges were brought. Crump also represents Arbery’s father.
Officers in Minneapolis were called about 8 p.m. Monday to investigate a report of a forgery at a business, according to police spokesman John Elder. Police found the man, believed to be in his 40s, matching the suspect’s description in his car.
“He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers,” Elder said in a statement. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”
The man, who was not immediately identified, was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he soon died, police said. His name and cause of death were expected to be released by the medical examiner.
All body camera footage has been turned over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the agency asked to speak with anyone who saw the arrest or recorded video. The officers involved have been put on paid administrative leave, per department protocol. The agency said the officers’ names will be released after initial interviews with the people involved and witnesses.
The FBI is conducting a separate federal civil rights investigation, at the request of Minneapolis police, the BCA said. Messages left with the FBI were not immediately returned.
Police in Minneapolis have come under scrutiny in recent years for deadly run-ins with citizens. A 24-year-old black man, Jamar Clark, was shot in the head and died in 2015 after a confrontation with two white officers responding to a reported assault. A county prosecutor declined to prosecute the officers, saying Clark was struggling for one of the officers’ gun when he was shot.
A white woman, Justine Rusczcyk Damond, died in 2017 when she was shot in the stomach by a Minneapolis officer responding to her 911 call. That officer, who is black, was convicted of manslaughter and murder and is serving a 12-year prison sentence.