Mimicking the James Bond 007 (1963) movie title ‘From Russia with Love,’ Putin Vladimir labeled the package he sent to Italy. Russia equipped at least 15 airplanes with truck-based disinfection systems in military transportation to Italy. Many of the most sophisticated military, biological, and environmental security forces particularly comprise eight medical brigades and about 100 staff.
The sources of La Stampa said that with the assistance package identified as ‘From Russia With Love,’ Putin is pursuing geopolitical and diplomatic chances. At the same time, Conte acknowledged the aid, to develop a strong personal partnership with Moscow.
On Wednesday, the Italian daily newspaper, La Stampa cited, senior political sources undeniably saying, 80% of Russia’s supplies to Italy in aiding the fight against coronavirus are “Useless”.
After discussions between Putin and PM Giuseppe Conte, Russia dispatched 600 ventilators and 100 military virologists and epidemiologists to Italy on Saturday. In addition, videos of Russian military trucks from Rome to Bergamo’s Coronavirus Epicenter widely circulated online this week to showcase the event.
“Eighty percent of Russian supplies are useless or of little use to Italy. In short, this is little more than a pretext,” an unnamed source told La Stampa.
The source said the Russian supplies comprise disinfection devices, a field laboratory for sterilization and chemical protection, and other related resources. Ambassador Sergei Razov of Russia has opposed La Stampa’s report as “perverse”.
“Such assertions are the product of a perverse mind. A selfless desire to help friendly people in trouble is perceived as insidious,” said Razov.
“This is a huge success story for Putin. I think the Italians have fallen into a trap,” said a senior NATO diplomat. He also pointed out that the coalition is helping in the explicit funding of Italy. Spain also called for special support from NATO.
Weaknesses of the European Union Exposed by Russian Gesture
Russia’s military support to Italy to fight the coronavirus outbreak has undoubtedly revealed the European Union is struggling to provide a suffering nation with quick aid and has launched a propaganda campaign in the home and abroad against President Vladimir Putin.
However, to a brief reaction by the EU states, Italy has been grateful for the Russian remediation units and medical personnel deployed during the last four days. Senior EU and NATO government officials and authorities consider the aid less generous and more like a strategic move that asserts Russia’s power and expands influence.
Conversely, NATO airlifts did not attract media coverage by their vital emergency supplies to European partners. The EU countries closed their borders to one another. They encountered delays in acquiring facial masks and other security equipment.
“The Italians asked for general support and the Russians sent military doctors and military supplies by military planes. That sends a signal,” said a top EU diplomat.
Rome denies the aid as a signal of merging geopolitical interests.
“There are no new geopolitical scenarios to trace. This is a country that needs help and other countries that are helping us,” said the Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio on Thursday.
“France has given us 2 million masks, Germany has sent us a few dozen ventilators. (Prime Minister Guiseppe) Conte requested and obtained some planes from Russia that brought 180 doctors, nurses, ventilators and masks,” said Italy’s government commissioner for the coronavirus emergency, Domenico Arcuri.
‘From Russia with Love’
Russia and its NATO envoy released several videos of trucks on their Twitter accounts to broadcast the en-route Bergamo, the epicenter of the Italian coronavirus crisis. Later, the Russian state media broadcast Italy’s Foreign Minister welcoming the first Russian airplane.
‘From Russia with Love,’ labels displayed on huge posters, airplanes, and cars displaying heart-shaped Russian and Italian flags, side by side. While NATO didn’t deploy its biological defense groups, the military regularly flies infected patients into hospitals, supplying beds and repatriating residents.
China and Cuba sent Italy medical assistance, said Alexander Baunov, a senior fellow at the Moscow Carnegie Centre. “The pandemic is an opening for countries who want the current global system to turn in their favor,” he added.
Without even addressing Russia by name, in his blog this week, the EU’s Chief of Foreign Relations Josep Borrell said that the EU needed to be more aware of “a struggle for influence through spinning and the politics of generosity”.
The European Union imposes sanctions on Russian banking, financial, and energy sectors. All 27 governments should always concur to renew these sanctions every six months. When questioned if Russia expected Italy to return the favor and give up the EU’s restrictions, Kremlin Speaker Dmitry Peskov found the idea as absurd.
“We’re not talking about any conditions or calculations or hopes here,” he said on Monday. “Italy needs much wider-scale help and what Russia is doing is manageable.”
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