ITALY IS GRATEFUL FOR RUSSIAN AID, BUT ALSO RESPECTFUL OF THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH OF THE NATIONAL PRESS
In this challenging phase, Italy is receiving help and support from many countries, and it is evident the solidarity mechanism triggered by the international community. Our nation can only be grateful for this solidarity.
Materials and capabilities from Russia (also following contact between President Conte and President Putin), as well as the contributions sent by all the other friendly countries, have been largely described and documented with the usual transparency by the institutions. It is reiterated, therefore, that the Russian health team, which arrived in Italy on 22 March, works in synergy with Italian Defence and Ministry of Health personnel. The Russian contingent is consisting of 104 units, precisely 32 health workers (including doctors and nurses), 51 sanitisation workers and other support and interpreting staff.
Mixed teams with Italian military personnel from the 7th NBC Regiment of the Italian Army, which has similar capabilities, have been set up.
The sanitising activity has been started in some structures and areas of Bergamo identified by the Civil Protection, also in coordination with Lombardy Region. Such activities were mainly focused on Health Care Residences. These environments are particularly exposed because they host elderly and vulnerable patients.
The Russian health care staff in these days has carried out a training activity with the Italian doctors at the Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo and will soon begin operating at the hospital from field of the National Alpine Association.
As for materials, Russian aircraft have so far delivered to the airport of Pratica di Mare the following humanitarian aid: 150 lung ventilators (already partly donated at the Giovanni XXIII Hospital and the hospital build at Milan District area), 330,000 masks, 1,000 protective gowns, two machines for the analysis of 100 rapid swabs, 10.000 fast swabs, 100.000 standard swabs, an analysis laboratory, three equipment for means of transport and environment sanitisation and 3 sanitisation stations suitable for large areas.
We are grateful for such a concrete manifestation of support, but, at the same time, we cannot help but blame the inappropriate tone of certain expressions used by the spokesman of the Ministry of Russian defence against some articles published the Italian press. Freedom of speech and right of criticism are fundamental values for Italy, as well as the right to reply, both characterised by formality and substantial fairness. In this moment of global emergency, the control and analysis task of the free press is more than ever essential.
Thus, in a joint notice, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Cooperation.