People wearing protective masks walk through Florence as Italy battles a coronavirus outbreak, in Florence, Italy, March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini
People wearing protective masks walk through Florence as Italy battles a coronavirus outbreak, in Florence, Italy, March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Russian plane with specialists, equipment arrives in Italy to help fight COVID19 - military

By: MENA
Mon, Mar. 23, 2020
MOSCOW, March 23 (MENA) - The Russian Defense Ministry said that the second Russian military aircraft with specialists and equipment needed in the fight against the coronavirus has arrived in Italy, Sputnik news agency reported.

"The second Il-76 military transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces with a group of Russian military specialists and equipment for diagnostics and disinfecting measures arrived at the Pratica di Mare Air Base in Italy," the ministry said.

On Sunday evening, the Russian Embassy in Rome announced that the first Russian plane with specialists and equipment had landed at the Pratica di Mare air base. Later on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed this information.

According to the ministry, Russian specialists will start providing help to Italy in the fight against COVID-19 after coordinating the specific regions that need the assistance.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio met the Russian military specialists and virologists who arrived at the Pratica di Mare air base on Sunday night.

"On behalf of the government, I want to thank you and your people for the help that you brought to us. We will always be grateful to Russia for the solidarity and friendship that you have shown.

I hope that you will be able to join our medics as soon as possible. I would shake your hand, but I can't, so I'll put it to my heart," Italy's foreign minister said. The ceremony of welcoming the Russian specialists in Italy was broadcast on the Di Maio Facebook page.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte discussed the COVID-19 pandemic during phone talks. Putin confirmed Russia's readiness to provide prompt assistance to Italy in the fight against the COVID-19 disease.

Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini has thanked his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu for the help that Russia has provided Italy in the fight against the coronavirus.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that Russia was going to send medical virologists, doctors, medical equipment and vehicles for aerosol disinfection to Italy to assist it in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to the Johns Hopkins University count, there are currently over 59,000 coronavirus cases registered in Italy and more than 5,400 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in that country.
 
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