Russia sends help against coronavirus during Italy’s hour of need: EU is where?
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The death toll from the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis in Italy is currently 5,500 people and growing. Equally troubling for Italy, coronavirus is spreading to all parts of the nation in increasing numbers. Therefore, it is shocking to note how shoddy the European Union (EU) is in response to Italy’s hour of need.
Indeed, nations including China and Cuba have sent assistance and medical experts to Italy. Thus, the announcement of major support from the Russian Federation to Italy not only sheds light on brotherhood between both nations but also the weakness of the EU. After all, one of the most powerful nations in the EU needs international support outside of this bloc because of the poor response.
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation promised to help Italy after speaking to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy. This support will further cement ties between both nations and will be welcomed by the citizens of Italy.
Reuters reports, “The Russian Defense Ministry said that military transport planes would deliver eight mobile brigades of military medics, special disinfection vehicles and other medical equipment to Italy from Sunday.”
The Permanent Representative of Italy to the European Union, Maurizio Massari, stated pointedly on March 10, “Italy has already asked to activate the European Union Mechanism of Civil Protection for the supply of medical equipment for individual protection. But, unfortunately, not a single EU country responded to the Commission’s call. Only China responded bilaterally. Certainly, this is not a good sign of European solidarity.”
Other nations outside of the EU have started to provide medical support to Italy including Cuba and the Russian Federation. Indeed, the support emanating from the Russian Federation is expected to be significant. Hence, it further highlights the weakness of the EU during a crisis outside of economic support.
TASS reports, “A group of some 100 people is ready for the flight, which consists of leading specialists of the Russian Defense Ministry in the field of virology and epidemiology, who have major international experience in fighting against the epidemic along with modern equipment for diagnosing and carrying out disinfection efforts.”
Overall, while international support is always warranted during times of crisis, it is still ironic that increasing medical support is coming from China, Cuba, and the Russian Federation. Hence, the EU needs to escape its bureaucratic nature and to put all nations of this bloc first – if not, then further dissent will grow. However, for now, the people of Italy are just relieved that some nations are willing to provide medical assistance during Italy’s hour of need.
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