The first plane carrying Russian military medical specialists and equipment took off for Serbia on Friday to help Belgrade fight the coronavirus, the Russian Defence Ministry said.
The military doctors travelling to Serbia specialise in virology and epidemiology.
"As of now, eight teams of doctors and nurses equipped with modern medical equipment, as well as a team of specialists in the nuclear, biological and chemical protection, which is able to carry out disinfection and analysis of pathogenic materials..., and the necessary supply of disinfectants are at the Chkalovsky military airfield and are ready for the transportation by the Russian air forces' Il-76 aircraft to Serbia," the ministry said in a statement.
Following the departure of the first plane, the ministry stated that three other Il-76s with medical equipment left for Serbia.
According to the ministry, Putin has ordered to establish an aviation group for this purpose with the humanitarian aid being delivered starting Friday.
The ministry added that the Russian aerospace forces would carry out 11 flights to Serbia to transfer there medical and protective equipment and send 87 military doctors and virologists.
As of Friday, Serbia has registered 1,171 coronavirus cases and more than 30 fatalities, while the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has surpassed 1 million with about 53,000 fatalities.
The aid came a week after Russian military specialists started helping Italian authorities in preventing new coronavirus infections.
The Russian Defence Ministry deployed its specialists in late March to the city of Bergamo, Lombardy, which has suffered the most from the outbreak.