WASHINGTON - The United States will donate 200 medical ventilators to Moscow via U.S. military transport beginning next week, to aid against the worsening coronavirus outbreak in Russia.
Government communications obtained by VOA reveal that the first 50 ventilators are being produced in California and will be ready for shipment to a surgical center in Moscow on Wednesday. The remaining 150 will be ready for shipment on May 26.
The U.S. government is donating 100 percent of the cost of the ventilators, their start-up components and their delivery expenses, which officials said totals roughly $4.7 million.
U.S. military aircraft will be used to transport the medical ventilators, considered the “best option” due to extremely limited commercial flights. Officials stressed within the communications that the ventilators are for the Russian people and do not signal a partnership with the Russian military.
“There is no cooperation between the U.S. and Russian militaries, as is prohibited under the National Defense Authorization Act,” according to the communications.
The COVID-19 outbreak has recently surged in Russia, which now has the second-highest number of cases in the world at nearly 263,000 cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Only the U.S., with 1.4 million cases, has more.
The deliveries later this month will fulfill an offer made by President Donald Trump during a news conference in mid-April.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted Trump’s offer to provide ventilators during a call between the two leaders that focused on the coronavirus as well as arms control, according to the White House.
The United States has aided many countries battling the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to do so in the future, according to officials.
On Wednesday, Russia suspended the use of some Russian-made, Aventa-M medical ventilators following fatal hospital fires in Moscow and St. Petersburg reportedly involving the machines.
Russia sent a batch of the same type of ventilators to the United States in the beginning of April due to projected shortages in the states of New York and New Jersey.
U.S. officials have said the Russian ventilators were not used or deployed to hospitals due to a flattening of the coronavirus curve, and the two states are returning the ventilators to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “out of an abundance of caution.”