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Russia Sends Medical Aid to Virus-Ravaged India

India is facing a Covid-19 crisis. Altaf Qadri / AP / TASS

Updated at 4:47 p.m. on April 28 to add Kremlin statement.

Russia will send a large shipment of medical aid to India as the country battles an unprecedented wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The shipment of coronavirus treatment drugs, ventilation equipment, oxygen supplies and other medical equipment comes “in the spirit of friendship and a particularly privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

President Vladimir Putin also mentioned the emergency aid in a phone call with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi on Wednesday, the Kremlin said.

According to the Kremlin readout of the call, Putin said Russia will send transport planes carrying over 22 tons of aid, including 20 pieces of oxygen equipment, 75 artificial ventilators, 150 medical monitors and 200,000 packages of medicine.

The state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited the Industry and Trade Ministry as saying that the 200,000 medicine packages would be the antiviral medication favipiravir.

India has registered the highest single-day Covid-19 infections of any country since the start of the pandemic in recent days, hurling the country of 1.3 billion people into a health crisis and prompting calls for foreign aid. Its official death toll surpassed 200,000 on Wednesday, but experts say the real toll may be much higher.

India is also expected to receive its first batches of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on May 1, The Times of India reported Tuesday. The country authorized the Russian jab for emergency use earlier this month.

Starting Tuesday, all individuals arriving in Russia from India will be required to be tested for coronavirus at the airport.

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