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US says military plane with ventilator shipment arrives in Moscow

Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A U.S. military plane carrying ventilators has landed in Moscow to help Russia in its battle against the coronavirus outbreak.

“Just arrived — U.S. plane with humanitarian aid from the people of the United States to the people of Russia. In times of crisis, the United States and Russia must work together to save lives,” Rebecca Ross, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said in a post on Twitter on May 21.

The U.S. National Security Council added in a tweet that the shipment is part of U.S. efforts to provide supplies “to people in need worldwide” and that this “humanitarian donation of ventilators is headed for #Moscow and will save lives in #Russia’s hardest hit city.”

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The U.S. government is aiming to donate as many as 200 U.S.-manufactured medical ventilators to Russia, which now has the second-highest total of reported COVID-19 cases after a surge of new infections over the past month.

Russia’s case tally rose to 317,554 on May 21 after 8,849 new infections were reported, while the death toll climbed to the 3,009 mark after 127 people died in the last 24 hours.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on May 21 that another shipment of ventilators is expected next week.

The United States has the largest number of reported cases globally at over 1.55 million, with the death toll exceeding 93,471.

Russia in April sent ventilators to the United States as cities like New York faced a shortage. Washington said it had paid for the equipment.

Moscow has ordered thousands of locally made ventilators, but was forced to sideline them after they were reported to have caused fatal fires in two Russian hospitals earlier this month.

The same ventilator type was part of the batch of medical supplies Russia sent to the United States.