WASHINGTON — The State Department says a planeload of medical supplies sent from Russia to the United States on Wednesday was purchased under an agreement between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that the supplies, including ventilators and personal protective equipment, were not a gift.
“Both countries have provided humanitarian assistance to each other in times of crisis in the past and will no doubt do so again in the future,” she said. “This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us.”
Ortagus did not say how much the U.S. paid for the supplies, which were handed over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in New York after the Russian cargo plane carrying them landed at John F. Kennedy international airport. She said the U.S. would continue to assist other countries in dealing with coronavirus pandemic “but we cannot do it alone.”
Earlier Wednesday, Russia’s ambassador to Washington said the delivery reflected the need to pool global efforts to counter the COVID-19 virus despite political differences. Ambassador Anatoly Antonov rejected claims that Russia was seeking political gain by providing the supplies as “cynical and immoral,” adding that Russian military medical experts there were risking their lives on daily basis.