ROME, April 8. /TASS/. Most Italians are sincerely thankful to Russia for its help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s Ambassador to Italy Sergei Razov said in an exclusive interview with TASS, adding that both politicians and ordinary Italians convey their gratitude to Russia.
"We receive plenty of letters and calls from the country’s citizens, which contain sincere words of gratitude for Russia’s efforts amid this situation. A week ago, I received a long letter from the governor of the northern region of Lombardy (Attilio Fontana) who says thank you to the Russian leadership for their timely and generous assistance to that region, most affected by the virus outbreak in Italy. We have received similar letters of gratitude from the governors of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Let me recall a joint note by Italy’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries, which discloses with gratitude the real essence of the aid and assistance provided by Russia," the ambassador said.
Speaking about certain Italian media outlets trying to discredit Russian assistance, the diplomat called not to turn facts into speculation.
"As for certain journalistic publications which, citing the freedom to expression, give another, let us be frank, unfriendly interpretation of the current events, certainly, every journalist has the right to their own point of view, to their interpretation of facts. I want to emphasize: facts, but not speculation. In the generally accepted sense, the freedom to expression should be intertwined with responsibility for this word, meant for the audience of thousands of readers," Razov said.
The ambassador recalled that Russian specialists had disinfected 33 communities, spraying antiseptic solutions on 226,000 square meters inside buildings and on 21,000 square meters of hard-surface roads, and disinfecting more than 4,500 units of equipment and instruments at medical institutions.
"Since April 6, eight teams of medical doctors alongside their Italian counterparts have been on round-the-clock duty at the field hospital where they are admitting and treating coronavirus patients. As we usually say in this case: do not muddy the waters," the ambassador concluded.
On March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte agreed during a phone call that Russia would send aid required by Italy to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Between the evening of March 22 and the morning of March 25, Russia sent 15 jets, transporting around 100 Russian military virologists and defense ministry specialists in epidemiology, eight nursing brigades, and equipment for diagnostics and disinfection. The Russian specialists are working outside the city of Bergamo, Lombardy, one of the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 1,400,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 82,000 deaths have been reported. That said, over 300,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.