Putin is ‘storing up favors’ with US medical supplies airlift, expert says but Trump dismisses warnings of Kremlin stunt – The Sun

VLADIMIR Putin is "storing up favors" by sending medical supplies to the U.S for the fight against the coronavirus, an expert has said.

Around 60 tons of supplies including ventilators, masks, respirators and other items arrived in New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in America.

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The death toll in the U.S has now reached the 6000 mark with around a 1000 dying each day as funeral homes in New York are at breaking point.

The White House has now confirmed the supplies were paid for by the United States and the delivery followed a phone discussion between Trump and the Russian leader.

The President rejected suggestions from critics that the delivery was playing into Putin's hands.

But Andrew Foxall, director of research at the Henry Jackson Society, and an expert on Russia told The Sun Online: "The selling of medical supplies to the US is a propaganda coup for the Kremlin.

"It is an attempt by the Kremlin to demonstrate to the West that, in times, of crisis, Russia can be relied upon to step into the breach.

"At the same time, the Kremlin is also hoping to store up favors from the West which it can call in further down the line.

"This is particularly true with EU and US sanctions, which were imposed after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

"Putin first called for sanctions relief at the G20 Summit in late March, and those calls will likely become increasingly louder."

But Dr Foxall said Russia is pursuing ‘"Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" policy towards the west.

"At the same time as ‘helping’ Italy and the US, pro-Kremlin media is seeking to undermine the efforts of both countries by spreading disinformation about Covid-19,” he said.

The President brushed off suggestions the delivery was a Kremlin PR victory.

"I am not concerned about Russian propaganda, not even a little bit,” he said.

“He offered a lot of medical, high-quality stuff that I accepted. And that may save a lot of lives. I'll take it every day."

Medical supplies in the battle against the pandemic are badly needed amid warnings the peak may yet to come.

New York alone needs 3.3million N95 masks, 2.1million surgical masks, 100,000 isolation gowns and 400 ventilators by Sunday, mayor Bill de Blasio said.

But some have questioned the wisdom of accepting the delivery from Russia.

Brett McGurk, a former diplomat for Trump and former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush was among many who questioned whether U.S should have accepted the supplies.

“Nothing to see here. Just a Russian military aircraft landing at JFK with 60 tons of medical supplies to support America's #COVID19 response,” he tweeted.

“A propaganda bonanza as our own government shrinks from America's leadership role in a global crisis.”

A former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe, Ben Hodges, tweeted: “It’s a gift TO the Kremlin, not FROM it, if it is true.”

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