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31 Mar, 2020 21:35

‘This is NUTS!’ Russiagaters see red over Putin’s planeload of corona-aid for Trump, queue to look gift-horse in mouth

‘This is NUTS!’ Russiagaters see red over Putin’s planeload of corona-aid for Trump, queue to look gift-horse in mouth

Russophobic pundits and red-baiting blue-checkmarks are gasping in horror and floating bizarre theories as Moscow sends a planeload of much-needed medical supplies to the US amid its worsening coronavirus epidemic.

News that a Russian cargo plane laden with medical supplies and personal protection equipment would soon depart for the US, a gift from the Kremlin to its coronavirus-stricken rival, has the usual suspects running around in circles screeching about ulterior motives.

While President Donald Trump’s announcement on Monday that “Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was nice” took many by surprise, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the shipment on Tuesday, explaining that President Vladimir Putin had asked Trump if the US needed help and he had accepted. Peskov added that he hoped the US would be able to return the favor if it became necessary.

Also on rt.com WATCH Russian military plane with masks & other Covid-19 medical aid depart for US

In the minds of the reds-under-beds crowd, this was an unacceptable “propaganda ploy.” How dare Trump allow Russia to supply Americans with lifesaving medical equipment?!

Others questioned whether the aid really existed in the first place, insisting that Russia didn’t actually have the supplies it was sending.

The Wall Street Journal accused Russia of Viruspolitik,” changing the headline of an earlier story about the “political shift” caused by Moscow’s delivery of medical aid to hard-hit Italy.

No scenario was too outlandish for Russiagaters. Newsweek contributor Olga Lautman hinted that Putin might have slipped in something nasty among the face masks and testing kits, which she assured everyone were defective.

While she didn’t say what exactly the unpleasant surprise might be, she hinted darkly that it (or they – the unexpected passenger could be a person, she implied, albeit one who is allergic to commercial air travel and likes to fly in cargo holds) “will most likely have to do with elections.”

Replies to the high-profile Russiagaters’ tweets were even more unhinged, from accusing Putin of a “coverup” to warnings that the equipment would come pre-infected with coronavirus.

It’s not that the US doesn’t desperately need medical equipment, of course – they just don’t want Russian cooties. A State Department email sent to diplomats in Europe last week and obtained by Foreign Policy confirmed that US officials had been asked to source supplies from any country other than Russia. With over 181,000 confirmed US cases of coronavirus as of Tuesday, one might think that beggars can’t be choosers.

The US isn’t the only country that has received help from unexpected quarters. After mostly getting the cold shoulder from its neighbors and the EU, coronavirus-ravaged Italy reached out to Russia, which obliged by sending medical teams and equipment, including 600 direly-needed ventilators, to help battle the outbreak.

The thought of Moscow lending a helping hand in the heart of Europe was too much for some to bear, however, and the usual cadre of Atlantic Council-adjacent NATO-botherers focused on circulating an anonymously-sourced story about most of the aid being useless and calling Moscow “Bad Samaritans.”

Also on rt.com How disinformation really works: Activists linked to pro-NATO think tank smear Russian Covid-19 aid to Italy

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