Fourteen military planes loaded with diagnostic and disinfectant kits and some of the Russian army’s top virologists and epidemiologists have arrived in Italy, ready to assist the Italian government in the fight against COVID-19.
Emblazoned on the side of some of their equipment was a missive to the Italian people – “From Russia with love”, as military specialists are deployed to Bergamo, the epicentre of the coronavirus crisis.
There is no doubt that President Vladimir Putin will delight in the opportunity to show political generosity at this time of unprecedented global emergency, as the great bastions of liberal democracy in Europe and the United States flounder in the face of the awful spread of the disease.
As states battling the virus adopt an every man for himself approach, it is the Kremlin – heart of Fortress Russia – which is insisting that international cooperation is key with the caveat that back home the situation is under control.
Vladimir Putin has a knack for seeing opportunities in crisis and this pandemic is no exception.
Putin’s Russia, a power capable of lending a hand at this time of crisis, sending out thousands of Russian testing kits to countries within its orbit, from Iran to Central Asia, to Venezuela – dispatching military healthcare advisers to help Italy’s exhausted hospital staff, keeping Russians (apparently) safe as the rest of the world weathers the COVID-19 tornado.
Photo Credit: Getty