So the ambassador of the Russian Federation in Italy, Sergey Razov, in an exclusive interview with AGI summarizes the meaning of the massive aid operation, which arrived in Italy from Moscow to support the battle against the new coronavirus by sending machinery and military virologist specialists in Bergamo, one of the most affected areas. The mission has been read by many as a political propaganda move by the Kremlin, aimed at highlighting the scarce solidarity shown in Rome by Brussels, but for the ambassador it is nothing more than “Russia’s free response to the request of the leaders Italians “, even if – he admits -” some in Europe conceive solidarity as general adhesion to sanctions and blocking discipline. In our view, solidarity should be different. In Russia, there is a saying: ‘There is no other people’s pain’. Russia could not remain indifferent to such a difficult situation for Italy “.
Ambassador Razov, there payments as the decision to help Italy was made.
On the evening of March 21, on the initiative of the Russian side, a telephone conversation took place between the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, Giuseppe Conte. The leaders discussed the situation of the new coronavirus pandemic infection thoroughly and agreed to work closely together in the fight against the disease.
In response to the appeal of the Italian side and in consideration of the very serious epidemiological situation in Italy, President Putin confirmed his willingness to promptly provide the necessary assistance to the Italian government and people, despite the fact that equipment and means of protection are extremely necessary in the our country. The Russian Defense Ministry reacted immediately to the outcome of this telephone conversation and on the morning of 22 March completed the creation of an aeronautical grouping consisting of 14 IL-76 military cargo planes to provide assistance to the Italian Republic “: two days after the phone call, nine heavy aircraft, each with a capacity of up to 60 tons, belonging to the Russian Air Force for transport, landed in Italy. Five other special flights arrived yesterday. Decisions on additional flights will be taken based on the evolving the situation and according to the need We are therefore talking about an extremely impressive humanitarian operation for the supply, in very short times, of medical equipment and protection devices.
What does Russian aid actually consist of? Where will the medical teams and equipment be sent to? How long will they stay in Italy?
Specifically, it concerns the arrival in Italy of 122 military doctors, virologists and epidemiologists, 8 medical teams composed of a therapist, epidemiologists, anesthesiologist, nurse and interpreter; 30 units of special vehicles-mobile units (each consisting of two vehicles) and data processing modules installed on ‘Kamaz’ vehicles. In addition, the Russian aircraft have brought protection devices to Italy, mobile units for the disinfection of the means of transport and the territory, which can also sanitize water pipes, medical equipment including a few dozen lung fans, biological analysis machines and pathogenic, 100 thousand test systems, high protection class health masks, gloves, one thousand complete with protection, 700 complete medical-infectious and other various equipment. “In particular, a brand new laboratory has arrived in Italy, one of the 15 that the NBC Defense Forces have in total. All of this, through the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, free of charge.
During the coordination meetings in which, yesterday and today, Russian and Italian representatives attended, for the moment it was decided that Russian specialists will be sent to one of the northern cities most copycat, Bergamo. The purpose of the Russian doctors’ visit is not to carry out consultations, but to carry out practical work directly in the hospitals, side by side with Italian colleagues. To ensure effective communication of Russian specialists, the team is accompanied by a group of military interpreters. Our specialists will remain in Italy until a specific joint decision of the Russian and Italian sides.
According to the Russian media, sending doctors from Russia is an opportunity to accumulate experience in the event that the coronavirus epidemic spreads to Russia. Is this really so?
Russian specialists have extensive practical experience in the fight against the spread of viral infections and in overcoming complex epidemiological situations. They are equipped with modern equipment, special machines and pharmaceutical products. These are, for the most part, experts, leaders in their field, who have directly participated in the elimination of outbreaks of anthrax and Ebola and in the development of anti-plague vaccines. Therefore, the goal of gaining practical experience in the event of coronavirus proliferation in Russia does not exist. However, it is clear that any experience is useful and I am sure it will give positive results in terms of saving lives and consolidating the collaboration between Russian and Italian specialists.
Why do you think Italy found itself in this difficult situation? Many read this mission as Russia’s political propaganda weapon, where the EU was unable to provide immediate assistance, what do you think?
Clearly it is not for us to analyze the reasons for such a rapid spread of the virus in Italy. I can only say that in our country there is a saying: ‘There is no pain from others’. Russia could not remain indifferent to such a difficult situation for Italy. I am sure that the expression ‘the spirit of Pratica di Mare’ now acquires a new meaning, that of helping the friend of the Italian people, regardless of the international political context.
In the past, Russia has already lent its aid to the Italian people more than once. In 1908, during the devastating earthquake in Messina, Russian sailors rescued the inhabitants from the rubble of the city and transported them to their hospitals on their ships. Thousands of lives were saved. Among other things, many of our compatriots died in that operation. It is a pleasure that their enterprise is still honored today in Italy, and in Sicily in particular. To come in more recent times I will cite the example of the devastating earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009, when Russia was one of the first countries to send a large group of rescuers from the Ministry of Civil Protection to manage the consequences of the disaster, and then, on the basis of a resolution of the Russian government, has allocated huge funds for the restoration of some architectural monuments of L’Aquila, which have now found their ancient splendor.
As far as political propaganda is concerned, in asking this question you must certainly be embarrassed. But what propaganda can we talk about? Russia has responded to the request of the Italian summits and is available to provide massive aid free of charge (I repeat again that the supplies through the Ministry of Defense are made free of charge). With regard to the action of your other partners, this falls exclusively within the sphere of Italy’s relations with them and it is not for us to judge.
What do you mean by the word “solidarity”?
Some in Europe conceive of solidarity as general adhesion to sanctions and blocking discipline. In our view, solidarity should be different. Peoples who have a centuries-old history of friendship in difficult situations should hold out their hands. President Putin has repeatedly spoken of the need for countries to join forces to fight new global challenges and threats. And what could be more dangerous than the spread of the epidemic we are witnessing? As I said, there is no ‘other people’s pain’ for us.