A 60-ton shipment of coronavirus supplies from Russia to New York was purchased by the US at a discount, according to a US official.
The supplies, which photos show were delivered Wednesday on a tarmac at New York’s JFK Airport, were characterized as “aid” by Russia’s government, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Wednesday night that the US actually bought the masks, respirators and other protective equipment.
In a statement to The Post, a senior administration official said that the items were purchased at a below-market rate.
“The United States is purchasing the supplies and equipment outright, as with deliveries from other countries,” the official said. “We appreciate Russia selling these items to us below market value.”
The official said the precise cost is unlikely to be disclosed.
President Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday about the COVID-19 crisis and other issues, including an oil dispute between Russia and Saudi Arabia. A White House readout of the call did not mention the supplies shipment.
The shipment was first mentioned by Trump on Monday evening in the Rose Garden. Trump said that “Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice.”
On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin made the offer and “Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid,” a chronology confirmed by US officials.
Pompeo’s tweet called into question whether the “aid” was actually a sale, undercutting what Russia hawks say was a propaganda win for Putin.
On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said, “Both countries have provided humanitarian assistance to each other in times of crisis in the past and will no doubt do so again in the future. This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us.”
Source: Read Full Article