- It’s a stunning indictment of the EU, which has abandoned Italy, while Merkel is quarantined.
- Italy reacted too late when the infection started. The Italian healthcare system has been revealed as very weak. Individual healthcare systems of EU member states are not very well-supplied, either.
- China hasn’t deindustrialized like the West, so it has produced all the supplies and equipment it needs. Russia produces a lot of testing kits.
- There is a gigantic, burgeoning healthcare crisis across the EU.
- Russia, meanwhile, has endured six years of EU sanctions, which continue. This humanitarian aid is all a win-win for Russia.
- Just recently, the EU was considering taking in 3 million refugees from Turkey – if Greece hadn’t shut down its borders.
- Greece is closing down on Monday.
- Globalism, neoliberalism and open borders: It has been making individual member states suffer for many years through harsh austerity measures leading to poverty, death and disease. Will these countries wake up finally?
- In the Italian media, there is outrage toward the EU’s policies, which have made Italy suffer so much over 20 years. They are asking, where are our partners when we need their help? ECB buying Italian debt doesn’t help those Italians in a desperate state right now. There should be a major hardening of attitude in Italy toward the EU.
- What will happen to free movement and the logic of the EU after this? Merkel and Macron will try to return to this once the crisis is over, but there will be opposition.
- Macron has threatened Boris Johnson with closing French borders to the UK if Johnson doesn’t do more to deal with the crisis. It will be hard to simply return to the open borders status quo after this.
- Russia closed its borders to China immediately once the crisis in China was announced in January and has relatively few cases with only one death. By comparison, the EU and UK were asleep at the wheel.
Russia sends critical aid to Italy, as Merkel goes into self-quarantine (Video)
The Duran Quick Take: Episode 507
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the decision by Russia to send Italy much-needed aid to help the country battle against the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 5,400 people.
The Russian Defense Ministry said four military planes carrying virologists, epidemiologists, medical equipment and supply of pharmaceuticals will arrive at the Pratica di Mare Air Base some 30 kilometers southwest of the capital Rome.
EU leaders have restricted exports of critical medical supplies to Italy as they prepare their own health-care systems for an onslaught of COVID-19 infections. Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone into self-quarantine.
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The Russian army on Sunday began flying medical help to Italy to help it battle the new coronavirus after receiving an order from President Vladimir Putin, a goodwill gesture that Moscow labeled “From Russia with Love.”
Giant Il-76 military planes began taking off from an airbase in the Moscow region after Putin spoke to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday and agreements were later reached between respective defense ministers.
The Kremlin said Putin had expressed his support for Italy’s leaders and people in the extremely difficult situation they were facing and had heeded an Italian request for help.
Italy recorded almost 800 deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, taking the toll in the world’s hardest-hit country to almost 5,000, out of over 53,000 reported infections.
“Giuseppe Conte expressed his sincere gratitude for the steps Russia is taking to support Italy at such a tough time for it,” the Kremlin said.
Moscow has tried to cultivate close ties with NATO and European Union member Italy in recent years. It asked Rome to help persuade the EU to lift sanctions imposed over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine from Crimea in 2014 – although those sanctions remain in place.
China, the origin of the outbreak, has also sent medical supplies to Italy, amid complaints from eurosceptic far-right leader Matteo Salvini that the European Union was failing in its duty of solidarity.
‘FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE’
TV footage released by the Russian Defence Ministry showed a column of at least seven military vehicles, including large trucks, waiting to be loaded onto planes.
The planes and trucks bore giant stickers showing heart-shaped Russian and Italian flags next to one another with the slogan ‘From Russia with Love’ in both Russian and Italian.
At least three planes took off on Sunday afternoon. The Ministry said they were bound for the Pratica di Mare military airbase, 30 km (19 miles) southwest of Rome.
The Kremlin said Russia was sending truck-based units capable of disinfecting vehicles, buildings and public spaces, as well as medical specialists and equipment, including testing devices, to the worst-hit Italian regions.
The team included some of Russia’s leading medical military specialists, who had first-hand experience of fighting outbreaks of African swine fever and anthrax and of developing vaccines against Ebola, it said.
The Defence Ministry said its help, being sent on nine military transport planes, would consist of eight medical brigades plus around 100 other personnel, including the epidemiological and virus experts.
Russia itself has reported 367 cases of the virus, many of them in Moscow, and one coronavirus-related death.
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