U.S. President Donald Trump has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted his offer to provide ventilators as Russia continued to see record-setting daily coronavirus cases, Reuters reported Thursday.
Trump offered to send “a consignment of medical equipment to Russia” in phone talks with Putin, the Kremlin said on the day when Russia broke into the top five countries with the most Covid-19 infections.
The Kremlin did not say in its readout if Putin accepted the offer, but Reuters cited Trump as saying that he had.
“President Trump reiterated that the United States is… ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia,” the White House said in a statement.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in mid-April that Russia would “certainly accept” Trump’s offer of ventilators “if necessary.”
Italy’s defense minister has also expressed readiness to help Russia in a phone call with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu thanking the Russian military for its assistance in fighting the outbreak in northern Italy, Interfax reported Thursday.
Russia’s military medical staff is due to start leaving Italy on Friday, the Defense Ministry said.
Russia’s coronavirus aid to both countries has drawn controversy, with reports of “mostly useless” gear sent to Italy and potentially sanctioned ventilators sent to the U.S. and critics saying the aid was an attempt at a PR coup for Putin.
With 177,160 infections as of Thursday, Russia ranks fifth globally for reported virus cases and has the world’s second-fastest rate of new infections behind the United States.
(c)MOSCOW TIMES 2020