US plane with donated ventilators lands in Russia
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A US military plane carrying dozens of donated American ventilators touched down in Moscow Thursday, with the precious cargo ready to be sent to a hospital treating coronavirus patients.
The 50 ventilators are “the first part of a humanitarian donation of a total of 200 much-needed US-manufactured ventilators to Russia”, valued at $5.6 million, the US embassy in Moscow said in a statement.
Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross posted a photo online of a US Air Force cargo plane after it arrived in the Russian capital’s Vnukovo airport.
“In times of crisis, the United States and Russia must work together to save lives,” she wrote.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the rest of the ventilators were expected next week.
Thursday’s shipment will go to the Pirogov National Medical and Surgical Centre in Moscow.
The move follows a shipment by Moscow of Russian ventilators to New York on April 1.
However they were never used and are unlikely to be after the same model was implicated in two fires in Russian hospitals.
Five patients died in a Saint Petersburg hospital on May 12 and one died in a Moscow hospital on May 9 in fires that are suspected to have been caused by faulty ventilators.
US authorities said the Russian ventilators were given to the states of New York and New Jersey but were returned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a precaution as Russia conducts a safety probe.
Zakharova said both shipments were purely “humanitarian”, though the US State Department had said Russia’s shipment was a purchase not a donation.
Russia is second to the United States in the total number of coronavirus infections with 317,554 reported cases and more than 3,000 deaths nationwide. (AFP)