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Hours ago, the 14th Russian Air Force transport aircraft IL-76 landed at the military base south of Rome to bring urgently needed aid to Italy. The first aircraft bearing the slogans “From Russia with Love” landed on Sunday March 22, shortly after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made a desperate telephone call to Vladimir Putin. In contrast to the Italian NATO and EU allies, who have so far failed to provide the European epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic with the necessary supplies, the Russian President decided to join China and Cuba in fighting COVID 19 in Italy. Ironically, all these nations are officially enemies of NATO and the EU and therefore of Italy, while the “friends” cynically follow the law of the jungle – “everybody for himself”. Italy’s permanent representative to the EU, Maurizio Massari, requested assistance in February through the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre. In a recent interview, he said they had asked for supplies of medical equipment and the European Commission had forwarded the appeal to member states, but it had not worked at all.

According to the Russian MoD, the aid consists of 8 brigades with 100 virus specialists, disinfection material as well as medical equipment, protective masks and coats, respirators, swabs and testing equipment. Many team members are experienced because of Russian aid missions in Africa when fighting Ebola and other viruses. Russia may be able to increase the amount of aid. According to Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, the head of the CBRN troops, he has provided Italy with a complex laboratory out of 15 laboratories available, as well as 8 special vehicles out of 2065 and 66 staff out of over 20,000 personnel under his command.

Apart from the stocks of the MoD, Russia can offer a variety of advanced means for diagnosis, treatment and localisation of viral and bacterial infections, including COVID 19 The head of the State Enterprise of Defence Export and Import, Alexander Mikheev, recently confirmed that his company is able to provide “a complete set of equipment to effectively address most epidemic threats, including novel viral infections.” “The company’s portfolio includes several mobile hospitals with infectious disease diagnosis and treatment units, control and disinfection stations, and modular quarantine isolation and observation facilities.” Mikheev added that these modules “are self-contained and comfortable for staff and patients and can be installed within a short time of one to six days.”


Inside View of the MFH

Modular Mobile Field Hospitals

The modular mobile field hospitals (MFH) were designed by the Russian Proekt-Technika Corporation. They provide qualified medical assistance to up to 300 people per day. About 30 persons can be treated as inpatients for up to 30 days. Upon customer request, the availability of MFH beds and the number of control rooms can be increased. The hospital is fully mobile as it uses its own vehicles (URAL or KAMAZ off-road container trucks). For long distance transports the MFHs can be delivered by train, plane or ship. The medical modules can be mounted on the customer’s vehicles following necessary adjustments.

The box vans are operational both on the chassis and on the ground. A crane or special handling equipment should be used to remove the body of the truck from the chassis. Advanced life-support systems guarantee a comfortable working environment in various climate zones at temperatures ranging from -50C to +50C.


According to Mikheev, Rosoboronexport can also offer a self-contained camp (APL-500) with a complete circuit for life support for up to 500 people. The camp includes sanitary and hygiene modules, modules for water storage and purification, modules for food storage, a kitchen, a bakery, a power plant, air conditioning, modules for receiving, disinfecting and disposing of waste. The camp can be equipped with medical auxiliary modules for the treatment of the sick or wounded. The special checkpoint modules can also be separately stationed at the borders of the quarantine zones to examine and test people moving between cities, towns or areas and prevent the spread of infectious and viral diseases.

These hospitals and camps have been rigorously tested in relief operations of EMERCOM Russia, as well as in peacekeeping missions and actions of law enforcement, security and civil protection agencies of other countries.


Quarantine and Self-Isolation

According to Mikheev, his company is able to provide technical systems to monitor compliance with the quarantine and self-isolation regime of persons. This system is part of the “Safe City” complex designed by Rostec Corporation companies. The system has proven its efficiency in identifying over 200 cases of violations of the self-isolation regime since its introduction in Moscow on March 5, 2020.

Russian officials urged that all nations must join forces against the COVID 19 pandemic, sanctions need to be postponed in order to face the common threat. What more needs to be done to convince politicians that we all live in the same house?

Yury Laskin