20:45 GMT05 March 2021
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - The UK media keep digging into 'the hidden agenda' of Russian humanitarian assistance to crisis-hit Italy and the United States, overlooking that both efforts were coordinated with the respective governments, the Russian Embassy in London said on Friday.

    “British media continue publications seeking to find discrepancies and hidden agenda of Russian humanitarian assistance rendered to the United States and Italy in order to help them combat the coronavirus pandemic", the embassy said in a statement. Russia's assistance was a demonstration of "civilized humanitarian cooperation and mutual help, the best manifestation of the universal values that humanity has been accumulating for centuries", it went on to say. "One would hope that freedom of expression and the media, another important achievement of modern civilisation, should be used in order to disseminate true information in good faith”, the embassy added.

    The mission recalled that Russian teams were helping Italy disinfect 65 nursing homes for the elderly. By 1 April, this work had already been finished at 17 sites.

    "We would like to stress that this help is free of charge and humanitarian by nature. It is a sign of our solidarity with the Italian people, not linked to any political agenda", the embassy said.

    Even though part of the relief cargo, delivered by Russia to the United States, was paid by the latter, it “hardly makes it less humanitarian”, the mission noted.

    A Russian military transport plane carrying medical equipment, masks and supplies lands at JFK International Airport during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 1, 2020
    © REUTERS / Stefan Jeremiah
    A Russian military transport plane carrying medical equipment, masks and supplies lands at JFK International Airport during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 1, 2020

    Last week, Jacopo Iacoboni, a journalist with La Stampa, alleged in an article that the agreement between Russia and Italy on humanitarian aid could have been geopolitical in nature, with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte agreeing to accept the assistance in order to strengthen personal and political relations with Moscow, and Russian President Vladimir Putin using this opportunity to play a role in the situation in Italy.

    Other Western media, including the UK's The Guardian and the Telegraph, voiced similar speculations. In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that the Russophobic obsession in the West continues even in times of a pandemic.

    Since March, the Russian military has sent 15 aircraft and dozens of specialists to Italy, the European nation most affected by COVID-19, along with disinfection and diagnostic equipment. Conte thanked Putin for the medical supplies in a telephone conversation on 21 March, and the Italian foreign minister personally came to meet the aircraft and express gratitude to Russia.

    Tags:
    Italy, Russian embassy in UK, United Kingdom
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