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Embassy comment regarding Russian humanitarian aid to combat Covid-19

British media continue publications seeking to find discrepancies and hidden agenda of Russian humanitarian assistance rendered to the United States and Italy in order to help them combat the coronavirus pandemic.

In today’s piece, BBC has published results of an investigation aimed at verifying the sincerity of gratitude (an important task indeed) expressed by Americans and Italians towards Russia. The journalists have been able to establish that Russian media reports on Russian flags being flown and Russian anthem being sung in Italy are misleading – the respective reports have only shown one proven instance of demonstration of the flag, while the anthem was played rather than sung. On top of this, BBC is again referring to La Stampa’s speculations claiming that 80 per cent of the Russian aid has been useless.

We cannot but admit that BBC has performed an important and, one would suppose, necessary investigative work. There are, however, certain minor elements that the independent and impartial journalists have overlooked.

Russian aid to Italy is being rendered upon request by Prime Minister Conte expressed to President Putin when they spoke on 21 March. 15 planeloads of aid have been delivered to Italy by Russian Defence Ministry aircraft, each carrying about 60 tons of cargo. The Russian assistance team consists of 122 experts, including 66 servicemen of the radiological, chemical and biological defence troops, as well as 8 teams of doctors, each comprising a physician, an epidemiologist, an anesthesiologist, a nurse and an interpreter. We have provided Italy with one (out of the Russian army’s total of 15) cutting-edge laboratory, 13 disinfection machines and tons of equipment including lung ventilators, biological and patogent test machines, 100 thousand test kits, high-quality masks and gloves, 1000 individual protection kits, 700 kits for doctors working with infectious diseases, etc.

One example of specific Russian assistance to the epidemic-stricken Italy is the participation of Russian teams in the ongoing efforts to disinfect 65 nursing homes for the elderly. By 1 April, this work had already been finished at 17 sites. It is being done using Russian equipment and materials. Apart from that, Russian epidemiologists provide advice to local staff so as to ensure a sustained anti-epidemic regime at those facilities.

We would like to stress that this help is free of charge and humanitarian by nature. It is a sign of our solidarity with the Italian people, not linked to any political agenda.

The same is true for the United States. The arrangement for Russian humanitarian assistance was reached during the telephone conversation between the two Presidents on 30 March. A Defence Ministry plane was urgently dispatched to deliver aid to the US. Half of the cargo was paid for by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, while the other half was covered by the US government. This hardly makes it less humanitarian.

Russian assistance is an example of civilised humanitarian cooperation and mutual help, the best manifestation of the universal values that humaniy has been accumulating for centuries. One would hope that freedom of expression and the media, another important achievement of modern civilisation, should be used in order to disseminate true information in good faith. This is what the public needs in the current difficult environment. We wish BBC and other British journalists success in this work.

3 April 2020, 18:05


16.05.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to Financial Times

Dear Editor, I feel compelled to express disagreement with the Financial Times coverage of Russia’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Judging by your reports, Russia’s response has been to manipulate with figures at home and to spread disinformation abroad, with the government acting inefficiently and doctors having inadequate protection. This distorted picture requires a refutation. Even by most pessimistic accounts, Russia’s performance in terms of healthcare system capacity and death rate is among the best of all major countries.

15.05.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to The Times

Sir, Roger Boyes is wondering why Russian industrialists (he calls them ‘oligarchs’) are helping to fight Covid-19. Are they suddenly ‘embracing philanthropy’, or ‘cleaning up their nasty image’, or else seeking to impose a ‘new compact’ on the ‘floundering’ government?

11.05.2020 - Statement by the Foreign Ministry concerning US attempts to rewrite the history of the Victory over Nazism

Attempts to distort the results of the defeat of Nazism and the decisive contribution our country made, which are continuing in Washington even during these days of universal celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory, cause utter indignation.

08.05.2020 - Telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson. The President of Russia and the Prime Minister of Great Britain exchanged greetings on the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazism, which became one of the greatest events of the 20th century and an example of unprecedented cooperation between the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition. Vladimir Putin noted in part that Russia remembers the exploits of the British sailors, participants in the Arctic convoys, owing to which the Soviet army and industry received arms and equipment needed during the war.

07.05.2020 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab

On May 6, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab at the latter's initiative. The two officials exchanged greetings in connection with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the victory in WWII. They noted the contribution of the members of the anti-Hitler coalition in the fight against Nazism, and emphasised the importance of using the alliance's experience in mobilising the international community's efforts to counteract today's global challenges. Particular attention was paid to discussing the efforts being taken to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus infection and to overcome its effects.

28.04.2020 - On the opening of the virtual exhibition project "Stalin – Churchill – Roosevelt: The Common Struggle Against Fascism" on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of victory in World War II

The virtual exhibition project Stalin – Churchill – Roosevelt: The Common Struggle Against Fascism, held on the 75th anniversary of victory in World War II, acquaints the public at large with the key documents and artifacts of the emergence of the anti-Hitler coalition during the war.

25.04.2020 - Joint statement by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of the United States of America Donald Trump commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the meeting on the Elbe

April 25, 2020, marks the 75th Anniversary of the historic meeting between Soviet and American soldiers, who shook hands on the damaged bridge over the Elbe River. This event heralded the decisive defeat of the Nazi regime. The meeting on the Elbe represented a culmination of tremendous efforts by the many countries and peoples that joined forces under the framework of the United Nations Declaration of 1942. This common struggle required enormous sacrifice by millions of soldiers, sailors, and citizens in multiple theaters of war.

09.04.2020 - Statement by the Foreign Ministry concerning the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, 8 April 2020

On April 8, 2010, the Russian Federation and the United States of America signed the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START Treaty). The Treaty was an important new step in developing Russia-US interaction to control nuclear weapons in the interests of strengthening international security and strategic stability.

27.03.2020 - Vladimir Putin took part in the Extraordinary Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit

Vladimir Putin took part in the Extraordinary Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. The summit focused on fighting the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the global economy.

25.03.2020 - Foreign Ministry Statement urging to immediately stop hostilities, March 25, 2020

In view of the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is urging all parties to regional armed conflicts to immediately stop hostilities, secure a ceasefire, and introduce a humanitarian pause.

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