Last Wednesday, a Russian-sent military transport airplane full of medical supplies and sanitary equipment took off from Moscow airfield. The plane has landed at the John F. Kennedy airport in New York. It was intended as a medical aid from Russia, after a conversation between Trump and Putin on Monday, according to the latest reports.
Trump accepted Putin’s offer of medical supplies to help fight the coronavirus pandemic which is rapidly catching up in US homes. There has been a large struggle to restock shortages of medical protective equipment.
“Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid,” says Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman for the Interfax news agency on Tuesday. Reportedly, Trump was enthusiastic for the Russian aid after conversing with Putin about the global pandemic.
Some US officials have made it unnecessarily harder for the Russian Embassy to expedite the aid, Peskov complains. “At a time when the current situation affects everyone without exception … there is no alternative to working together in a spirit of partnership and mutual assistance,” he remarks, giving an example of the Russian cooperation with China.
The State Department reports that the US has approved the purchase of the medical supplies after the Trump-Putin call. “We are a generous and reliable contributor to crisis response and humanitarian action across the world, but we cannot do it alone,” says State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.
“Both countries have provided humanitarian assistance to each other in times of crisis in the past and will no doubt do so again in the future,” she adds. “This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us.”
A Complicated Relationship
There have been drastic foreign affairs strains between Moscow and Washington in recent years because of many reasons, mainly the Syria and Ukraine issues, as well as the US election interferences, as denied by Russia. Since 2016, Trump has been fighting a federal investigation battle about his election and whether or not has Russia involved.
Russia also sent planes with generous amounts of medical resources and supplies to Italy, belittling the EU’s inept response to quickly provide their member country much-needed help during the crisis. During the outbreak’s starting points, Italy and China were the countries with the most confirmed coronavirus cases.
The Russian Embassy tweeted that Moscow responded with a medical aid after Trump stated that the coronavirus death toll could reach more than 200,000. They also hope that the US government would return the favor as well.
“Importantly, when offering assistance to the American colleagues, President Putin is guided by the following consideration: when manufacturers of medical equipment gain momentum they will be able to reciprocate if need be,” the Russian Embassy tweets.
“I have to say, we’ve had great relationships with a lot of countries,” Trump states. “China sent us some stuff, which was terrific. Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice.”
According to a US official in Washington, the Russian aid airplane shipment carries 60 tons of medical equipment, masks, respirators, and such. It’s ordered that they carefully examine the contents for quality control by the US Food and Drug Administration.
As of now, confirmed US coronavirus cases reached more than a staggering 336,000 infected with 9,616 deaths.
Meanwhile, the official tally counts more than 2,000 cases, with 17 deaths. However, Russian medical staff report conflicting numbers, doubting the official data.