[World News] ‘We have many friends in the world’: Italian FM says no ulterior motive to Russian Covid-19 aid, calls it ‘act of solidarity’

News bullet:

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio brushed aside suggestions that aid from Moscow to combat the coronavirus pandemic came with hidden intentions, stating his country had nothing to fear from Russian assistance.

In an interview with Euronews’ Giorgia Orlandi published on Friday, the reporter pressed Di Maio to reveal the “real purpose” behind Moscow’s mission to deliver medical supplies to the Mediterranean nation, citing amorphous “doubts” and “fears” that the aid could shift international alliances after the outbreak dies down.

“The Russian Federation has sent face masks, ventilators and medical staff and teams to disinfect public buildings and our cities,” Di Maio said. “They have helped in their own way in an act of solidarity.”

Italy is not a country that has to fear, as a result of aid, that it will have to bow in submission to other states. We are in the G7 and we have many friends in the world.

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Orlandi’s attempt to tease out malicious designs in the Russian aid package comes on the heels of reports in a top Italian newspaper, La Stampa, sounding alarms that Moscow’s ventilators and medical experts were simply a way to put Russian boots on Italian soil, and that the majority of its supplies were “useless.”

With Italy’s former top diplomat Franco Frattini telling RT that the European Union had left the country “practically alone against the virus,” however, it appears officials in Rome are eager for all the help they can get in beating it back, having tallied more than 86,000 infections and facing the world’s highest mortality rate for the illness with some 9,100 deaths.

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An ambulance arrives with a coronavirus infected patient from Italy for further treatment at the University Hospital in Dresden, Germany March 26, 2020. © REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel
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