In days when almost the whole world is facing a lack of medical supplies needed to fight coronavirus, the piece of news that Russia is sending medical aid to the USA spread all around the world with almost the same intensity as the pandemic itself.
And while many media outlets, including the American ones, were surprised, it turned out that the shipment was not free.
Russian media outlets were the first to publish the piece of news on March 31, day after the conversation of Trump and Putin, that medical supplies from Moscow are on the way to New York. They also wrote about it on April 1, when the Russian Ilyushin landed to the John Kennedy Airport. Headline is the same in almost all articles in Russian media: Airplane with Russian aid landed to New York.
Versions of this information were spread by numerous local and regional portals with headlines such as Russia sent aid to the USA, Trump accepted Putin’s aid. Only a couple of media outlets made corrections, or, published the information that this is not aid, but the shipment that Washington paid for.
And while numerous U.S. media outlets thought that this way April Fools’ joke, they received the official explanation. Spokeswoman of State Department, Morgan Ortagus, explained that the supplies purchase followed the telephone conversation that the Presidents Trump and Putin had on March 30.
It is not precised in the statements how much the USA paid for supplies that the official Moscow described as aid, just like the majority of local media.
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. This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us, says Ortagus.
Numerous experts think that the delivery of Russian supplies represents a part of the Kremlin propaganda campaign which is strengthening Putin’s strong internal position, while Russia is represented as a savior on a global plan. Meanwhile, as American media informed, the analysts warned Trump that Moscow is using this type of activities to strengthen the influence and possibility of having American sanctions abolished (imposed for electoral interference in 2016). Trump did not want to comment the situation in detail but he stated that Russian propaganda does not concern him since the medical supplies which could save many lives are the crucial factor.
On the other hand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation does not deny that Washington paid for the supplies, stating that the USA paid for half of supplies while the other half was paid by Moscow. These claims are denied by an article on Reuters U.S. paying Russia for entire planeload of coronavirus equipment: U.S. official . This agency conveyed the message of a high official in the White House who wanted to stayed anonymous but he stated that his country paid for the planeload of equipment.
The United States is purchasing the supplies and equipment outright, as with deliveries from other countries. We appreciate Russia selling these items to us below market value.” explained high official.
American media did not succeed in finding out the value of the complete delivery but they announced that 60 tons of supplies were received, including respirators, masks and other protective gear.
Russian opposition also criticized Putin for delivering medical supplies to the USA, emphasizing that Russia is also lacking masks and medical supplies for fighting coronavirus.
It is incredible that we are selling the enormous quantity of medical supplies to the USA, but the whole Russia except for Moscow is lacking it, tweeted Leonid Volkov, close associate of Alexei Navalny, leading critic of Putin.