Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin are offended by the assumption that the Russian Federation helped Italy fight the coronavirus epidemic for political gain.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, in an interview with the BBC on April 9, said it was insulting to speculate that Russia wanted to profit politically by sending Italy assistance to fight the coronavirus epidemic.
He said like insinuations of his “deep insult. “
“This is an insult to the Italian government … and also [президента РФ] Vladimir Putin, who would never have thought of using this as a lever [влияния]”- added Conte.
At the end of March, Russia sent 15 Il-76 planes to Italy “with equipment for the diagnosis and disinfection of events,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said.
On March 25, the Italian newspaper La Stampa, citing sources, wrote that 80% of the cargo sent by Russia was useless. Russia, in particular, transferred Italy equipment for disinfection of territories, while China supplies artificial ventilation apparatus and masks, which are lacking in the country.
The interlocutors of the publication suggested that, having supported Italy, Russia pursues political and diplomatic interests, while Conte agreed to accept it in order to strengthen personal relations with Moscow.
Besides, La Stampa noted that Russian military specialists arrived in Italy, who freely move around the country.
Russian Foreign Minister Maria Zakharova called La Stampa material “fake,” the goal of which is “to completely distort Russia’s actions in connection with the sanitary-epidemiological crisis in Italy.”
After the La Stampa publication appeared on change.org, a petition was created demanding the Italian authorities to explain the purpose of the stay of Russian military doctors in the country. It was signed by 666 people.
An outbreak of coronavirus infection began in December 2019 in China. March 11, the World Health Organization announced the spread of coronavirus pandemic. According to the American Johns Hopkins University, the total number of infected people in the world exceeded 1.49 million, of which 88 982 died, more than 332 thousand recovered.
According to Italian authorities, on the evening of April 8, 139,422 people were infected with coronavirus in the country, of which 26 491 healed, and 17 669 have died. Italy ranks third in the world in the number of infected and the first – by the number of deaths.