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Russian Aid To U.S. Came From Sanctioned State-Owned Company

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Russian Aid To U.S. Came From Sanctioned State-Owned Company

Aventa-M ventilators being unloaded. Click to see full-size image

On April 1st, the Russian medical aid arrived in New York, which currently has 83,901 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The aid includes personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies.

Notably, this includes the Aventa-M ventilators, produced by the Ural Instrument Engineering Plant.

It is part of the Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies, which itself is a part of Rostec.

Regardless, returning to Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies.

On July 16th, 2014 the Obama administration imposed sanctions through the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) by adding Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies and other entities to the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) in retaliation for the situation in Ukraine and the events of Crimea.

As part of the Entity List, the US reasonably believes that the Russian company is involved in, or poses a significant risk of being or becoming involved in, activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy of the United States.

As such, export to the US of these companies is generally prohibited, US citizens, businesses and generally anybody associated with the US is impeded from doing any sort of business with them.

Yet, they just received their ventilators, while the sanctions remain.

In addition to make things more interesting, the US Department of State published a statement, saying that the aid Russia sent was actually “purchased” by the US.

“The United States is committed to the global fight against COVID-19.  We are a generous and reliable contributor to crisis response and humanitarian action across the world, but we cannot do it alone.  The countries of the G20 agreed last week to work together to defeat the coronavirus, and we are working closely with these countries and others to ensure that critically needed supplies get to those in need.

As a follow-up to the March 30 phone call between President Trump and President Putin, the United States has agreed to purchase needed medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protection equipment, from Russia, which were handed over to FEMA on April 1 in New York City.

Both countries have provided humanitarian assistance to each other in times of crisis in the past and will no doubt do so again in the future.  This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us.”

Thus, it would appear that one of two things is true:

  1. The US, itself, doesn’t pay any respect to its own sanctions, and the situation is so dire that it would do business with an Entity it itself deemed a threat to its interests;
  2. If the part about “purchasing” the aid is untrue, then it is so desperate for supplies, that it would receive them from just about anybody, even sanctioned Entities (except Cuba, of course), and is even willing to go as far as to attempt and save face by saying it paid for the aid.

Since neither US President Donald Trump, nor Russian President Vladimir Putin made any mention of these supplies being a sort of transaction, in the same way that no payment is expected from Italy for receiving 15 planes of equipment and Russian specialists.

April 2nd, 13:15 CET UPDATE: The spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova said that 50% of the medical aid provided to the US was purchased by the Washington, and the other half was covered by Russia, and specifically by the Russian Direct Investment fund.

“As you know, RDIF [Russian Direct Investment Fund] plays a significant role in Russian and American business cooperation, and supports American business in Russia,” she added.

The fund, in turn, noted the critical importance of dialogue between the two countries for the successful fight against coronavirus at the global level.

“RDIF paid half the cost of medical equipment for hospitals, hospitals and laboratories in New York. We also work with US companies to deliver the goods from the United States, if necessary, and expect US partners to pay half of its cost.”

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