Trump says he’s giving ventilators to Russia’s Putin for coronavirus response – Business Insider
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump on June 28. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
- President Donald Trump said he would send ventilators to Russian President Vladimir Putin to help Russia’s coronavirus response. Trump and Putin spoke on the phone Thursday.
- Previously, Trump pushed back on requests from US governors for ventilators and other supplies.
- As Trump moves to send lifesaving equipment to Russia, the US remains the center of the coronavirus pandemic.
- COVID-19 cases and deaths are expected to rise as US states move to reopen and lift coronavirus-related restrictions, which Trump has pushed for.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accepted an offer from President Donald Trump for ventilators to aid the country’s coronavirus response, Reuters reported.
Trump in mid-April signaled he might send ventilators to Russia to help it with COVID-19, and it appears the two leaders sealed the deal on a Thursday phone call, in which they also discussed arms control, according to the White House.
A White House readout of the call indicated that Trump told Putin the US was “ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia.” Separately, a Kremlin readout of the call said it was “proposed from the American side to send a batch of medical equipment to Russia.”
Later in the day, Trump told reporters at the White House that Russia was having a “hard time” with COVID-19 and that the US would send “some ventilators” at the “appropriate time.”
It’s unclear how many ventilators Trump is offering to Russia. The White House declined to comment when contacted by Insider. The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump previously pushed back on requests from US governors for ventilators, essentially telling states they were own their own in terms of acquiring vital medical equipment amid a pandemic.
Accordingly, governors across the US have looked to each other for help and, in some cases, made deals with other countries for lifesaving equipment. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, orchestrated a deal with South Korea for coronavirus tests. Similarly, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, accepted 1,000 ventilators from China.
As governors pleaded for ventilators and other equipment in March, Trump said, “Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work.”
“The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk,” the president added.
The US is the center of the coronavirus pandemic, with the most reported cases and confirmed deaths. And even as Trump moves to send lifesaving medical equipment to Russia, his administration has predicted that the US’s daily coronavirus death toll would nearly double over the next month, with the number of new daily infections expected to rise from 25,000 to 200,000, according to The New York Times.
As of Thursday afternoon, the US had 1.2 million reported cases of coronavirus and nearly 75,000 confirmed deaths from the virus. Comparatively, Russia had over 177,000 reported cases, and 1,625 confirmed deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
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