❝ Last Saturday there was a long phone call between Premier Giuseppe Conte and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin pledged to help Italy in the battle against the Coronavirus. And on Sunday evening, at the military airport of Pratica di Mare, 9 Ilyushin aircraft arrived with Russian supplies and 100 specialists in bacteriological warfare, men that Russian agencies call experts in the field who have worked in the elimination of outbreaks of African swine fever, anthrax, vaccines against Ebola and plague. But exactly what supplies did the Russians send us, and at what price?
High-level political sources have reported to La Stampa that "among those Russian supplies 80% is totally useless, or little useful to Italy. In short, little more than a pretext". Unlike, say, Chinese shipments (consisting mainly of lung ventilators and masks), Russian shipments would be equipment for bacteriological disinfestation of areas, a field laboratory for sterilization and chemical-bacteriological prophylaxis, and equipment of this type.
According to these sources, the real counterpart of the phone call was therefore all geopolitical and diplomatic: Putin saw in the Coronavirus an opportunity to wedge himself also physically in the Italian theatre, and the Italian Prime Minister did not mind propping himself up, in this difficult crisis, accepting all this in order to consolidate an excellent personal relationship with the political side of Moscow.
What it means to physically wedge oneself is soon explained: the hundred or so experts sent from Moscow are military doctors, and the whole operation falls under the Russian Ministry of Defence, not the Ministry of Health. They have the ranks of generals, colonels, majors, lieutenant colonels, engaged in the past in military operations terrain, from Guinea to Africa, where bacteriological warfare has made one with Russian foreign intelligence operations. Sergei Kikot, senior general, head of the mission, is an expert in anthrax.
Gennady Eremin, Colonel, is an expert in bacterial warfare and has worked against swine fever. Colonel Viacheslav Kulish is an expert in the development of protective equipment against viral biological agents and has worked in programs against Ebola and plague. Yesterday this team left Rome in the direction of Bergamo, with military means: for 600 kilometers, on Italian territory, Russian soldiers were moving with the blessing of Palazzo Chigi. And who gave the indication to open the airport of Pratica di Mare?
This is clearly an exceptional situation. No telephone calls on the matter have been made between the foreign ministers, Lavrov and Di Maio. This brings us back to the Conte-Putin telephone call, which was the heart of the matter, for which we shot two questions at Chigi Palace: what supplies exactly came from Moscow? And how much were they paid? From Chigi Palace we were turned to the emergency commissioner Domenico Arcuri, with the explanation that the phone call Conte-Putin and the supplies are two different issues.
And yet it was an official communiqué from Palazzo Chigi that expressly connected things. And the Russian agency Interfax also, even more explicitly. From Palazzo Chigi we were told that a complete list of supplies will be made public tomorrow. But the Arcuri team told us that at the moment there are no plans to publish the Russian supplies. Nothing has been paid for, it was "a gift of generosity from Putin to Italy". The generosity, however, brings with it a high price: Russian Defense men roaming freely on Italian territory, a few steps from NATO bases. For once Interfax, the Russian agency, is richer in information, informing us that "Russian military transport aircraft have completed the delivery of Russian medical teams, as well as equipment for diagnosis and disinfection". ❞https://www.lastampa.it/topnews/primo-p ... 54LNpgGWjA