Russia sends medical supplies to US despite own doctors struggling for resources

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr Trump “accepted with gratitude this aid of humanitarian nature” in a phone call with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. The US is grappling with the coronavirus epidemic with the total number of cases climbing to 213,323. The current death toll for the US is 4,754.

Mr Trump made a reference to Russian aid for the first time during a press conference on Monday.

He said: “Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things”.

However, the US President is yet to elaborate on details of the supplies.

Reports of the US administration accepting aid from Russia have caused concerns that Moscow could be using the coronavirus crisis to get the US to ease some of the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia.

Footage released by the Russian Defence Ministry showed a military plane full of cardboard boxes taking off from an airfield outside Moscow late on Tuesday night.

This comes after Russian military sent several planes with medical supplies and doctors to Italy last month.

The Russians did not specify the contents of the shipments but Italian media reported that local authorities found most of them to be “useless”.

Government critics in Russia have accused President Putin of putting his global ambitions before the country’s well-being.

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“Our regions are short of the most basic necessities, they’re running low even on face masks,” opposition leader Lyubov Sobol tweeted.

“Putin lives in a fairy-tale world and plays his geopolitical games as the situation gets worse every day.”

The aid comes as doctors across Russia have complained about a lack of PPE.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said earlier this week that the city could soon run out of protective suits.

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The news comes as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is taking precautions to protect himself against coronavirus.

The President has increased measures to distance himself after a number of politicians and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for coronavirus.

The Kremlin, has since said all is fine with Mr Putin’s health.

However, they have said the president was now keeping his distance from other people and preferred to work remotely.

When asked if Putin had changed the way he greeted people and was now keeping a distance, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Of course, now everyone is maintaining a social distance. Everyone is doing this.”

Russia expanded its coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday to cover more of its territory as the official tally of infections rose to 2,777, a one-day increase of 440.

Twenty-four people have so far died in Russia, authorities say.

Moscow, has become the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak and is now at standstill since announcing a partial lockdown on Sunday.

Residents can leave their homes only to buy food or medicine nearby, get urgent medical treatment, walk the dog or empty their bins.

Red Square was largely empty on Tuesday except for police who stopped occasional passersby to check their papers.

On Wednesday, a Moscow city official said authorities had developed a smartphone app for residents who have contracted the virus.

This will also allow officials to monitor their movements.

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