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First Russian Il-76 plane with virologists departs for Serbia to help fight coronavirus

Overall, Russian military transport aircraft are set to make 11 flights to Serbia

MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. The first Ilyushin Il-76 plane of Russia’s Aerospace Force with equipment and specialists has departed for Serbia from the Chkalovsky airfield to help the Balkan country fight the novel coronavirus, the Defense Ministry of Russia reported on Friday.

"The plane will deliver a forward group of military medics, virologists and epidemiologists with the modern equipment for epidemiological diagnostics and disinfection measures to the Batajnica aerodrome (20 km northwest of Belgrade)," the ministry said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported earlier on Friday that an air task force of Il-76 planes had been set up at the Chkalovsky aerodrome near Moscow to deliver aid to Serbia.

Overall, Russian military transport aircraft are set to make 11 flights to Serbia to deliver military medics, virologists of radiological, chemical and biological protection troops, special medical equipment and also protective gear and 16 items of military hardware.

Assistance to Serbia and other countries

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic held telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 2. The Kremlin press office reported after the talks that Russia would provide humanitarian assistance to Serbia and send doctors and disinfection specialists to the Balkan country.

On April 1, an Antonov An-124 heavy transport plane of Russia’s Aerospace Force delivered a batch of medical equipment and individual protective gear to the John F. Kennedy airport in New York from Russia. The agreement on sending the cargo plane with medical equipment to the United States was reached during a telephone talk held between Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump on Monday.

Earlier, on March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte agreed during their telephone talk that Moscow would render Rome required assistance in the fight against the coronavirus.

From the evening of March 22 to the morning of March 25, 15 Russian planes arrived in Italy, delivering about 100 Russian military virologists and army epidemiologists, eight teams of doctors and nurses and also equipment for diagnostics and disinfection measures.