İrem GÖL -TDO- Russia has dispatched a cargo plane with masks and medical equipment to the United States after Donald Trump accepted an offer of humanitarian aid from Vladimir Putin to fight against coronavirus outbreak. The delivery is likely to stir controversy among critics of Trump, who have said Putin will portray the goodwill gesture as a public relations coup and use it to bolster Russia’s efforts to escape sanctions for meddling in the 2016 US elections.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters: “Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid. Now that this situation has affected everyone without exception and is global, there is no alternative to joint action in the spirit of partnership and mutual help.” Peskov also said that Putin “assumes that when US makers of medical equipment and materials have gained speed, they too will be able to reciprocate if necessary.” Russia has already sent planeloads of masks and other medical aid to Italy deploying medics in military vehicles labelled: “From Russia with Love.” Russia’s military said the aid included 22 vehicles and mobile disinfection labs. Italian officials publicly thanked Russia for the aid.

Masks and other medical equipment are also in short supply in Russia, where the number of infected coronavirus rose by 440 on Wednesday to a confirmed 2,777 cases. The Moscow mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, warned Putin last week that the official tally of cases underestimated the severity of the outbreak.

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