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Thursday, 2 April 2020

Russia sends 60 TONS of medical supplies to the US after Vladimir Putin offers to assist during phone call with Donald Trump - but critics say it is a propaganda gift TO the Kremlin (7 Pics)

Russia sent 60 tons of medical supplies to the United States to help combat the coronavirus after Russian President Vladimir Putin offered them to President Donald Trump when the two spoke on Monday, a senior administration official told DailyMail.com
The supplies landed at John F. Kennedy airport in New York on Wednesday and were criticized on both sides of the Atlantic. American officials questioned Putin's motives in making the offer and Russian health officials described their own needs for such equipment. 
Putin made the offer of help to Trump, who accepted it.  
'President Putin offered President Trump during their conversation Monday,' a senior Administration official told DailyMail.com.
'As an act of goodwill, yesterday, Russia delivered a planeload of equipment and supplies at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Likewise, the United States is sending equipment and supplies to many other countries, and will continue to do more as we are able,' the official said.   
The cargo plane carried 60 tons of ventilators, masks, respirators and protective equipment at a time when the United States is struggling to meet the demands of health care workers who are on the frontline.
'Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice,' President Trump told reporters at the White House Monday during his daily press briefing.  
Russia sent 60 tons of medical supplies to the U.S. following a phone conversation between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump
Russia sent 60 tons of medical supplies to the U.S. following a phone conversation between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump
The shipment includes much-needed ventilators, respirators, masks and other personal protective equipment
The shipment includes much-needed ventilators, respirators, masks and other personal protective equipment 
A cargo plane carrying boxes full of protective gear and ventilators touched down at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York Wednesday, two days after the world leaders discussed the deal on the phone
A cargo plane carrying boxes full of protective gear and ventilators touched down at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York Wednesday, two days after the world leaders discussed the deal on the phone
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the U.S. paid for the supplies, but did not disclose the amount. 
But the assistance from Russia was also met with criticism from some American diplomats, who asked whether President Trump is ignoring Putin's motivation in sending the supplies. 
Russia is under U.S. sanctions for its interference in the 2016 presidential election and its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
'Nothing to see here. Just a Russian military aircraft landing at JFK with 60 tons of medical supplies to support America's #COVID19 response. A propaganda bonanza as our own government shrinks from America's leadership role in a global crisis,' Brett McGurk, a former diplomat for Trump and former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter.  
Ben Hodges, a former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe, said on Twitter 'it's a gift TO the Kremlin, not FROM it.' 
And Andrew Weiss, a Russia analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, simply tweeted of the supplies: 'This is nuts.'
State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Wednesday the equipment would be carefully examined to make sure it met the quality requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
She thanked Moscow for sending the supplies - and for putting aside frosty geopolitical relations to help for the greater good.
'We are a generous and reliable contributor to crisis response and humanitarian action across the world, but we cannot do it alone,' Ortagus stated. 
'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.'
The plane is pictured after touchdown at JFK Airport in New York Wednesday
The plane is pictured after touchdown at JFK Airport in New York Wednesday
Criticis haured in 2019
Critics have blasted the move, claiming President Trump has ignored Russian's potentially nefarious motivations for sending the supplies. Putin and Trump are pictured in 2019
Russia also sent supplies to Italy in boxes labeled 'From Russia with Love'
Russia also sent supplies to Italy in boxes labeled 'From Russia with Love'
Meanwhile, the Kremlin called the supplies 'aid' - despite being paid by the U.S. to send them. 
'Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid,' Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying by the Interfax news agency on Tuesday. 
'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,' he said. 
The shipment has sparked outcry in Russia, as well as in the U.S. Many Russians have accused the Kremlin of orchestrating a 'publicity stunt' when their own doctors and nurses need personal protective equipment to deal with their own COVID-19 cases. 
'Russia has actually sold the United States masks and medical equipment when doctors and nurses across the country are left without masks and are infecting one another,' prominent opposition politician Alexei Navalny wrote on Twitter.
'It's monstrous. Putin is crazy.'
Doctors at a hospital in the Moscow region told the Novaya Gazeta newspaper they had been asked to sew their own masks.
The Alliance of Doctors, a trade union for medical workers which is often critical of the authorities, said it had been collecting money across Russia to buy protective gear for doctors and was distraught to see the country now shipping the same equipment to the United States.
'It's just making a mockery of everything,' the trade union wrote on Twitter.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on Twitter: 'At the moment we have resources that can be allocated to support other countries who suffer most from the coronavirus. The possibility that we would also need help from abroad can't be ruled out. We have friends who are ready to help us.'
The United States is not the first country to receive Russian aid to fight the pandemic.
Earlier this month Moscow sent 15 planeloads of medical equipment and medical personal to Italy, in boxes labeled 'From Russia with love.' 
In Russia, the official tally is  2,337 coronavirus cases with 17 deaths, although the accuracy of that data has come into question.
Putin, meanwhile, is working in isolation after shaking hands with a Russian doctor who has tested positive for the disease.  
The U.S. has reported more than 215,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured  wearing a protective suit enters a hall during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus patients outside Moscow last week
Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured  wearing a protective suit enters a hall during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus patients outside Moscow last week

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