Russian military specialists and equipment were transported to Italy to assist in the fight against the coronavirus on March 22-23.
The Il-76MD military transports of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ 223rd Flight Detachment based at Chkalovsky near Moscow landed at the Italian Air Force base of Pratica di Mare, southwest of Rome. The aircraft delivered eight medical teams composed of military virologists and epidemiologists, as well as equipment for diagnosis and disinfection.
Responding to Russian media criticisms that sending assets to Italy would adversely affect the combat readiness of the radiation, chemical and biological defence (RKhBZ) troops in Russia itself, the head of the force, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, said that only one of 15 laboratories was sent to Italy, together with 20 special processing vehicles from a total of 2,065, and 66 personnel from around 20,000 in RKhBZ service. At the same time, according to Kirillov, “the Russian servicemen will gain a lot of experience in eliminating the consequences” of the epidemic.