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Russia sends 15th plane to Italy as part of assistance in fighting coronavirus

The Russian Air Forces continue the operation to transfer Russian military specialists, special equipment and machinery to the Italian air force base

MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. The 15th Il-76 transport plane of Russia’s air forces flew from the Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow to Italy with military personnel and equipment on board to help the country combat the novel coronavirus, an official with the Defense Ministry told reporters on Wednesday.

According to the ministry, preparations are underway to move military equipment to the northern city of Bergamo (Lombardy region), where Russian military virologists and epidemiologists will start their mission in Italy. Bergamo became one of the epicenters of an outbreak of the disease caused by the coronavirus. One of the highest numbers of infections and deaths from the disease in Italy was registered in that city.

"The 15th Il-76 aircraft of the Russian military aviation flew from the Chkalovsky airfield (Moscow region) to deliver special equipment and means to combat the coronavirus to the Italian air force base Pratica di Mare (30 kilometers southwest of Rome). <...> Currently, the Russian military together with Italian colleagues are getting ready to move special military equipment and equipment to the designated area (Bergamo -. TASS) and agreeing on the routes of movement," the official with the Defense Ministry said.

The ministry added that the Russian Air Forces continue the operation to transfer Russian military specialists, special equipment and machinery to the Italian air force base.

Last Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who had a telephone conversation, agreed that Russia would help Italy cope with the novel coronavirus infection epidemic.

From March 22 evening to March 23 night, eight mobile brigades of medics and about 100 military virologists and epidemiologists, equipment for disinfecting transport vehicles and territories, as well as medical equipment were delivered to Italy by fourteen Russian Il-76 military transport planes.