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The U.S. Offers 200 Ventilators to Russia as Crisis Deepens

The U.S. has offered 200 ventilators to Russia after its President, Vladimir Putin called the U.S. President asking for help, said the U.S. State Department.

The U.S. will deliver the ventilators to Russia this week. The country faces a public health crisis following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus cases on Wednesday neared 300,000 cementing the country with the second-highest number of confirmed cases after the U.S. It has over 1.5 million confirmed cases, according to John Hopkins University data.

President Trump responded to President Putin’s request by donating 200 ventilators. Moreover, the manufacturer in the U.S. is producing 50 of them. They will be ready for shipment by May 20, said the spokesperson.

According to the U.S., sending medical aid to Russia is part of measures to help its global allies and wanted to improve the US-Russia relations. Their relationship strained in recent years following its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and meddling in the U.S.’ 2016 election.

Both drew international condemnation leading to economic sanctions on Russia.

The U.S. seeks a better relationship with Russia

The spokesperson also noted that the U.S. seeks a better relationship with Russia in many ways, and remains open to dialogue. They have provided humanitarian support to each other during past crises and will continue to in the future.

They’ll work together to overcome the common threat that knows no boundaries.

Russia’s request for medical assistance comes after it sent “humanitarian aid” to the U.S. in early April as the pandemic took a toll in the U.S. Russia sent medical supplies, including ventilators. Still, the act of largesse has had its controversies.

According to critics, Russia sent medical supplies to soften the U.S.’s stance on sanctions, which Russia has vehemently denied.

Also, the U.S. stopped using Russian made ventilators for safety concerns. Furthermore, the Russian model (Aventa-M ventilator) was under investigation as a potential cause of two deadly fires in Russian hospitals. They killed several Covid-19 patients.

The U.S. aid to Russia is its commitment to WHO, which has tried to lead a global response to the pandemic but seems fragile.

On Tuesday, Trump said the WHO must “clean up” its act, or else the U.S. will no longer be involved with them. Additionally, he threatened to pull out support from the agency permanently, giving it a 30-day deadline to implement changes.

The State Department spokesperson said the US was the largest contributor to global public health. They had committed over 15,000 ventilators to more than 50 countries, including European allies and partners.

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