Russia sent the United States medical equipment on Wednesday to help the country fight the COVID-19 pandemic, after Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed the crisis in a phone call on March 30. However some critics say Russia does not have enough for its own needs.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia had paid half the cost with the other half being paid by the United States. According to CTV News, the foreign ministry said the part paid by Russia was sponsored by Russias state investment fund.
“The United States has agreed to purchase needed medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protection equipment, from Russia,” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
A Russian military plane carrying protective gear and ventilators landed in New York City on Wednesday and the equipment was passed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in New York City on the same day.
A U.S. official quoted by Reuters said that the shipment contained 60 tons of ventilators, masks, respirators, and other items, and would be examined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ensure it complies with U.S. standards and requirements.
Usually, the United States donates supplies to embattled countries rather than accepting them.
“We are a generous and reliable contributor to crisis response and humanitarian action across the world, but we cannot do it alone,” Ortagus said.
“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,” Ortagus added. “This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us.”
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlins spokesman, said Moscow hoped the United States might also be able to provide medical help to Russia if necessary when the time came.
“It is important to note that when offering assistance to U.S. colleagues, the president [Putin] assumes that when U.S. manufacturers of medical equipment and materials gain momentum, they will also be able to reciprocate if necessary,” Peskov was cited as saying.