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FACT CHECK: Is Russia Really Sending Medical Supplies To The United States?

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Russian President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting with Russian regional officials via videoconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 30, 2020.
Mikhail Klimentyev, AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting with Russian regional officials via videoconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 30, 2020.

During his briefing with the coronavirus task force on Monday, President Trump said Russia has sent medical equipment to the United States to combat the growing pandemic.

"And I have to say, we've had great relationships with a lot of countries," Trump said. "Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice."

Is that so?

The short answer: Likely yes. But it may not have happened yet.

The long answer: It appears Trump may have been referring to a forthcoming shipment of aid arranged with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to the Interfax news agency on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Trump accepted Putin's offer for shipping medical equipment to the United States during a phone call on Monday in which the leaders discussed the pandemic and oil markets.

"Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid," Interfax quoted Peskov as saying. Peskov also said a Russian plane with medical and protective equipment may leave for the United States on Tuesday.

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Peskov added that there was an understanding that the United States would return the favor later on.

"It is important to note that when offering assistance to the U.S. colleagues, the president (Putin) assumes that when U.S. manufacturers of medical equipment and materials gain momentum, they will also be able to reciprocate if necessary," Peskov was quoted as saying.

Trump has said in his press conferences that if the U.S. finds itself with extra ventilators, for example, he would want to offer them to other countries suffering in the pandemic, but he has not specifically mentioned Russia.

The Telegraph's Moscow correspondent, Nataliya Vasilyeva, also reported that a plane with medical aid leaves for the United States Tuesday night.

The White House did not respond to a request for details on the Russian aid shipment.

Here's what an earlier American readout said about Trump's phone call with Putin — the two leaders:

discussed the latest developments and efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The two leaders agreed to work closely together through the G20 to drive the international campaign to defeat the virus and reinvigorate the global economy. The leaders also discussed critical bilateral and global issues.

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