Russophobic pundits and red-baiting blue-checks are gasping in horror and floating bizarre scenarios as Moscow prepares to send a planeload of much-needed medical supplies to the US amid its worsening coronavirus epidemic.
News that a Russian cargo plane laden with medical supplies and personal protection equipment would soon depart for the US, a gift from the Kremlin to its coronavirus-stricken rival, has the usual suspects running around in circles screeching about ulterior motives.
While President Donald Trump's announcement on Monday that "Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was nice" took many by surprise, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the shipment on Tuesday, explaining that Vladimir Putin had asked Trump if the US needed help and he had accepted. Peskov added that he hoped the US would be able to return the favor if it became necessary.
This is nuts. Kremlin spox Peskov says Trump accepted Putin's offer to send a flight w #coronavirus medical equipment to US. Details willl be handled at the working level. Hopefully someone will tell Trump that he's playing right into a propaganda ploy https://www.interfax.ru/russia/701773
It's mind boggling to me. In 2012 USAID was asked to leave Russia because the Kremlin said "it didn't need US assistance anymore." (Of course there were many other motivations.) And here we are, blithely accepting this help. It's an absolute PR victory.
The Wall Street Journal accused Russia of "Viruspolitik," changing the headline of an earlier story about the "political shift" caused by Moscow's delivery of medical aid to hard-hit Italy.
No scenario was too outlandish for Russiagaters. Newsweek contributor Olga Lautman hinted that Putin might have slipped in something nasty among the face masks and testing kits, which she assured everyone were defective.
This is absolutely disgusting and Putin will use this as propaganda just like he does w Italy with media showing Russian tanks rolling through Italy. What else will be on this plane besides their faulty supplies while Putin ignores the pandemic spreading in Russia w his coverup?
While she didn't say what exactly the unpleasant surprise might be, she hinted darkly that it (or they - the unexpected passenger could be a person, she implied, albeit one who is allergic to commercial air travel and likes to fly in cargo holds) "will most likely have to do with elections."
Seriously what is this? "Hopefully someone will tell Trump that he's playing right into a propaganda ploy" He damn straight KNOWS he's doing Putin's bidding as he has since he first joined the Russian mob. This is Twitter & not a NYTimes lede.
It's not that the US doesn't desperately need medical equipment, of course - they just don't want Russian cooties. A State Department email sent to diplomats in Europe last week and obtained by Foreign Policy confirmed that US officials had been asked to source supplies from any country other than Russia. With over 181,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Tuesday, one might think that beggars can't be choosers.
The US isn't the only country that has received help from unexpected quarters. After mostly getting the cold shoulder from its neighbors and the EU, coronavirus-ravaged Italy reached out to Russia, which obliged by sending medical teams and equipment, including 600 direly-needed ventilators, to help battle the outbreak. The thought of Moscow lending a helping hand in the heart of Europe was too much for some to bear, however, and the usual cadre of Atlantic Council-adjacent NATO-botherers focused on circulating an anonymously-sourced story about most of the aid being "useless" and calling Moscow "Bad Samaritans."