After Russian diplomat claimed that half of the medical supplies sent to the United States was funded by Moscow, a US official has reportedly refuted the claim. According to media reports, a senior US official acknowledged that Russia sold the medical supplies below market value but maintained that America paid the cost in full.
Speculations were rife whether the United States paid in full for the medical supplies provided by Russia or it was a gift after the phone call between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The issue became even more controversial after Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russian Representative to the United Nations, said that only half of the supplies were purchased by the US.
To answer a lot of questions that we receive in this regard: following our presidents’ arrangement half of the delivered equipment was provided by #Russian Direct Investment Fund, half purchased by the US side #COVID19 #NewYorkCity— Dmitry Polyanskiy (@Dpol_un) April 2, 2020
Earlier on April 1, Russia’s largest cargo aircraft with medical supplies landed in New York City to help the US contain the pandemic. US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that the United States agreed to purchase medical supplies from Kremlin as a follow-up phone call between Trump and Putin. The spokesperson confirmed that the necessary supplies including ventilators and personal protection equipment were handed over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“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. This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us,” said the spokesperson.
The State Department said that the US has been a “generous and reliable contributor” to crisis response and humanitarian action across the world but emphasised that it can not fight the ongoing COVID-19 crisis alone. It added that the Trump administration is working closely with G20 countries and others to ensure the availability of critical supplies to those in need.
(With agency inputs)