Russia sends medical aid to Serbia to fight coronavirus

Russia will send 11 military planes carrying medical equipment to Serbia to help it fight the coronavirus outbreak, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said on Friday.
The announcement came a day after the Kremlin said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had appealed to President Vladimir Putin for humanitarian aid for his country, which has documented 1,476 cases of the virus and 39 deaths.
Russia and Serbia have strong political, military and economic ties. Moscow backs Belgrade in refusing to recognize the independence of Kosovo, a former Serbian province.
The ministry said the planes were carrying military physicians and protective gear.
Russia has also sent several planes with medical supplies to Italy, which has recorded close to 14,000 coronavirus deaths - a gesture some European Union and NATO officials portrayed as a political move aimed at expanding Moscow's influence in Europe.
Russia also sent ventilators and protective gear to the United States this week in a shipment the Kremlin initially described as aid.