Russia sends nine planes to Italy with doctors and medical aid

Russia follows China and Cuba in helping Coronavirus-hit Italy.

The first of nine planes from Russia carrying military doctors and medical supplies to help Italy with its Coronavirus emergency landed at Pratica di Mare, a military air base south-west of Rome, on the night of 22 March.

The military cargo planes being sent to Italy are carrying a cargo of masks, ventilators, protective suits and testing kits as well as doctors and special disinfection vehicles, destined for Italy's worst hit region in the north, reports Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

The planes come to Italy from Moscow after Italian premier Giuseppe Conte spoke to Russia's president Vladimir Putin -the Kremlin said - with Reuters news agency reporting that Russia is also expected to send about 100 military specialists in virology and epidemics.

Italy's foreign affairs minister Luigi Di Maio welcomed the Russian plane last night. Photo TGcom24.

Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio was present to welcome the first of the planes, each of which is reportedly marked with a logo saying From Russia with Love.

"Italy is not alone, and cultivating certain friendships is paying off" - said Di Maio, who added: "We will always be grateful to the Russian Federation for the friendship and solidarity it has shown us."

The Russian plane landed the same evening as a team of 37 doctors and 15 nurses from Cuba arrived to help Italy in its battle against Coronavirus, and ten days after China sent a team of specialist doctors and medical aid to Italy.

Photos TGcom24