DISINFO: Russian aid played key role in slowing spread of COVID-19 in Italy
  • Outlet: News Front - German (archived)*
  • Date of publication: April 11, 2020
  • Outlet language(s): German
  • Reported in: Issue 192
  • Countries / regions discussed: Italy, Russia
coronavirus humanitarian aid EU disintegration Russian superiority European Union

DISINFO: Russian aid played key role in slowing spread of COVID-19 in Italy


At the height of the epidemic, when Italy was abandoned by its “partners” in the European Union, Russia volunteered to help the republic. As soon as possible, military doctors, medical and nursing teams, as well as equipment for diagnosis and disinfection, were transferred to the Apennine Peninsula. Despite Western attempts to discredit Russian aid, it was it that allowed Italy to overcome the peak in the spread of coronavirus infection COVID-19.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic. The EU did not "abandon" Italy. The bloc is supporting the Member States in addressing the crisis, and mitigating the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector. Individual EU members have also provided assistance to Italy specifically, including access to a hundred intensive care beds (Austria and Germany), 500 mobile medical units (Greece), 2.5 million masks (Austria and France), 30,000 protective suits (Czechia and France), 300 ventilators (Germany), as well as 50 medical personnel (Poland, Romania, and non-member Norway). Meanwhile, Russia's military presence in Italy has had little measurable effect on the spread of the pandemic. According to Sputnik, Russian personnel in Italy began treating patients on 6 April. By 12 April, four patients under their medical care had recovered. In total, there were 12,396 recoveries in Italy between 6 and 12 April. The uncredited photo attached to the article has nothing to do with Russian aid to Italy. It shows a public utilities worker disinfecting St Mark's Square in Venice.


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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