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Rusian Ilyushin Il-76MD cargo plane. Photo: ilyushin.org

Russian Defense aid convoy arrives in Bergamo

For the first time in history, means and personnel of a power that has been an "enemy" for 70 years, are moving on Italian territory to aid with the fight against the Coronavirus.

Published: March 26, 2020, 9:06 am

    Rome

    A convoy of special equipment with military specialists from the Russian Ministry of Defense, traveled from the air base of Pratica di Mare, near Rome, to Bergamo to help fight the spread of Coronavirus.

    Special vehicles and the medical team from Moscow arrived on Sunday, when the first Ilyushin Il-76MD cargo plane of the Russian Aerospace Forces [Vks – Vozdušno-Kosmičeskie Sily] landed at the military military airport in Lazio, unloading men and materials.

    In total, the Russian army has made 15 flights to the NATO member, the latest of which arrived on Thursday, as reported in an official Italian government note.

    The contingent from Moscow is led by the major general Sergey Kikot, anthrax expert and deputy chief of staff of the NBCR defense command (Nuclear Bacteriological Chemical Radiological) of the Russian Federation, and together with him other 120 specialists who, as reported by La Stampa, have the ranks of generals, colonels, major, lieutenant colonels.

    In the past, they were engaged in military operations to contain bacteriological risk abroad and at home, as happened in 2016 to counter the spread of an anthrax epidemic in the Yamal-Nenec region, in central and northern Siberia.

    Russian aid includes one hundred ventilators for intensive care, 200 000 masks, one thousand protective suits, and above all viral test kits. Two machines that can process one hundred swabs in a couple of hours also landed. The Turin newspaper reported however that the complete list of material will be made public only tomorrow by Palazzo Chigi.

    For disinfection, KDA “Orlan” type vehicles, consisting of 22 units of Russian special equipment as well as buses with military specialists and spare vehicles and technical support provided by Italy, are heading towards Bergamo.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      The Russian aid will certainly make an impact, and be appreciated by the local Italians. Certainly the Russian operation, which seems to be already set up and operating in Bergamo, is doing what it can to help local authorities who are overwhelmed by the extent and severity of the Cornavirus plague. What Russia is doing stands in stark contrast to both the European Union and the Italian government, which bear a large part of the responsibility for letting the crisis reach critical levels before taking effective steps to counter it.

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