MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. The Russian Aerospace Forces are ready to fly teams of Russian virologists and medical equipment to coronavirus-stricken Italy starting Sunday, the Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s instruction, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave orders to set up an air group "for urgent aid deliveries to the Italian Republic for anti-coronavirus efforts, starting on March 22," the Defense Ministry said.
"As soon as Italy is ready, the Russian Aerospace Forces’ military transport aircraft will fly eight mobile teams of Russian military virologists and doctors, vehicles for aerosol disinfection of transport and territories, as well as medical equipment to the republic," the defense ministry said.
Italy has confirmed its readiness to accept Russian Aerospace Forces’ planes.
On March 21, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed aid delivery in a phone call with his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Guerini. "During the call, the Italian defense chief confirmed [Italy’s] readiness to accept Russian planes with specialists, vehicles and equipment, starting March 22," the Ministry said.
Guerini also thanked Russia for promptly providing aid to fight the pandemic in accordance with an agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Earlier in the day, President Putin phoned the Italian premier. The Kremlin’s press office said that the Russian president reassured him of Moscow’s readiness to promptly provide all necessary help and furnished information on its practical parameters. In particular, the supplies of protective means and mobile vehicles mounted on Kamaz trucks for spraying disinfectants over transport and in the areas as well as medical and other equipment are to be delivered. In addition, Russian specialists are going to be dispatched to the country’s worst-hit regions for practical assistance.
According to the latest reports, the death toll from the novel coronavirus has jumped to 793 in Italy. The country has reported that 42,681 people have been infected with the deadly virus, up 4,871 from Friday’s figures. That said, over 6,000 people have recovered from the deadly disease.