Russia is sending medical equipment to the United States after President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke Monday about the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Russian state TV, a plane with the medical supplies took off for the U.S. early Wednesday morning, Reuters reports.
"Russia may send plane with medical equipment to #US by end of day. Being aware of the serious epidemiological situation in America, the Russian side offered medical equipment and protective gear as assistance," the Russian embassy in the U.S. tweeted on Tuesday.
#StopCovid19— Russia in USA ???? (@RusEmbUSA) March 31, 2020
Importantly, when offering assistance to the American colleagues, President Putin is guided by the following consideration: when manufacturers of medical equipment gain momentum they will be able to reciprocate if need be - #Peskov https://t.co/tFzUo330ga
Later, the embassy noted that the equipment was sent with the understanding that the U.S. would reciprocate if the situation in Russia reached a crisis level.
"Importantly, when offering assistance to the American colleagues, President Putin is guided by the following consideration: when manufacturers of medical equipment gain momentum they will be able to reciprocate if need be," the embassy said.
???????? Following phone talk between Presidents #Putin & @realDonaldTrump #Russia sends largest cargo aircraft An-124 Ruslan ?? with ?? medical supplies (masks + equipment) to #US to help fight #COVID19 pandemic, save lives of American citizens. ?? The plane is en route #RussiaHelps pic.twitter.com/efeSK78cuB— MFA Russia ???? (@mfa_russia) April 1, 2020
Some analysts questioned Moscow's motives, while others, including Ben Hodges, former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe, called into question the photo the Kremlin tweeted of inside the cargo plane.
This picture is a hoax...no professional Loadmaster in the world...in any air force...would load a plane like this. https://t.co/ynJnSixaHc— Ben Hodges (@general_ben) April 1, 2020
The Moscow Times reports the country has 2,777 reported cases of coronavirus and 24 deaths.