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31 Mar, 2020 03:35

‘Happily surprised’? Trump says Russia sent US ‘very, very large’ aid package to combat Covid-19

‘Happily surprised’? Trump says Russia sent US ‘very, very large’ aid package to combat Covid-19

US President Donald Trump has praised Moscow for sending a ‘very large planeload of things’ to help fight the spread of the coronavirus and treat sickened patients, noting that China and other nations had also chipped in.

UPDATE: Russian Covid-19 aid plane to US: Putin asked Trump if he needed help & he accepted, Kremlin spokesman says

“We’ve had great relationships with a lot of countries,” the president told reporters at his daily Covid-19 briefing on Monday, adding: “China sent us some stuff, which was terrific. Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice.”

Other countries sent us things that I was very surprised at, very happily surprised.

Trump did not specify what kind of aid Moscow or Beijing had provided, however, and failed to name any of the “other countries” that had also sent supplies.

The comment was somewhat puzzling, given that Russian officials have yet to announce any such aid shipment to the US, and a State Department email recently sent to American diplomats stationed in Europe in search of supplies – obtained by Foreign Policy magazine last week – explicitly ruled out Russia, stressing that the request applied to countries hosting US embassies “minus Moscow.”

Also on rt.com ‘We have many friends in the world’: Italian FM says no ulterior motive to Russian Covid-19 aid, calls it ‘act of solidarity’

The president’s off-hand remark about the aid did, however, follow a call with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, in which the two discussed their mutual concern over the fast-spreading virus. Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov had also previously signaled that his country was “ready to help the United States” if needed.

Moscow last week sent more than 100 medical experts and nearly a dozen aircraft loaded with equipment to Italy – including ventilators, disinfecting supplies, as well as face masks and other protective gear – to combat the country’s own outbreak, among the most severe in Europe. Though Italian media reports had slammed the aid as “useless” and mused that it came with malicious and hidden intentions, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio insisted the assistance was a pure “act of solidarity.”

Also on rt.com Russian military support ‘much needed’ in Italy's 'critical' battle against Covid-19 – Lombardy VP

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