On April 3rd, the first Russian IL-76 with equipment and specialists departed from Chkalovsky airfield to Serbia.
The purpose is to help the country in the battle against COVID-19.
“The plane will deliver a forward group of military medics, virologists and epidemiologists with the modern equipment for epidemiological diagnostics and disinfection measures to the Batajnica aerodrome (20 km northwest of Belgrade),” the ministry said.
In total, the Ministry of Defense will transfer 87 military virologists and doctors, equipment, special equipment, protective equipment and 16 units of military equipment with eleven flights.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health of Serbia, 31 people died from coronavirus in the country, the total number of patients reached 1,171.
On April 2nd, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Serbian President Alexander Vučić.
The presidents discussed the measures taken by the two countries to counter the coronavirus pandemic as well as opportunities for practical cooperation in this area.
The two leaders agreed on the provision of humanitarian aid to Serbia in order to fight the spread of the infection in the spirit of traditional friendly bilateral relations. This aid, including sending experts, will mostly be provided by the Russian Defense Ministry.
This came in follow up of a call by the Serbian Ministry of Internal affairs for the government to ask Russia for help.
“At today’s meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia, it invited the government to ask for help from the Russian Federation because of the situation with the coronavirus,” a representative of the Serbian Interior Ministry told RIA on March 26th.
According to a note circulated in Serbia, at the cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, the Ministry of the Interior presented the proposal to seek Russian support on specific issues, based on the cooperation agreement between the two countries in emergency situations.
On March 24th, the Serbian army deployed a reception center in the Belgrade Fair and Exhibition Center to isolate 3,000 infected people.
Serbian President Aleksandr Vučić called for strict adherence to self-isolation rules for arrivals from abroad and emphasized that criminal liability for violation of the regime could result in 3 to 12 years in prison.
Serbia, earlier called for assistance from China, and it received help in the form of 6 doctors, ventilators and medical masks.
“A big thank you to President Xi Jinping, the Chinese communist party and the Chinese people,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on March 21st.
Vucic was very vocal in the EU’s inability to offer any assistance to Serbia, in addition to even limiting exports of medical supplies, so that they can be used by the countries in the bloc.
“I sent a letter to President Xi, in which for the first time I officially called him not only a dear friend but also a brother, and not only my personal friend but also a friend and brother of this country,” Vucic said on March 16th.
“As of today, as you know, we cannot even import goods, according to the European Union’s decisions, [European Commission president] Ursula von der Leyen said this a while ago, we cannot import medical equipment from EU countries,” he added.
In Serbia, under the state of emergency measures announced by Vucic, Serbia has banned entrance to all foreigners, except diplomats, people with residence permits, and Chinese citizens “who we will be begging to come and help us with everything”.
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