More details are surfacing around Russia's "humanitarian mission" in the coronavirus-struck Italy. Although, Russian aid is no more "humanitarian" than the one supplied to the U.S. where it turned out to have been fully paid for.
Now, in Italy, it appears that all those "experts", special vehicles and equipment deployed from Russia are not a goodwill gesture, but quite an interesting business model. After all, Russian aid, which did not result in any turning point in the fight against coronavirus in Italy, was paid for from the Italian state budget, that is, from the pockets of Italian taxpayers.
La Stampa, which is already like a bone in the throat for Russian "rescuers", has already shed light on this fact. Moreover, that bone has stuck so deep in the throat of the Russian defense ministry that the latter even resorted to threatening the publication. But let's focus on the following.
The fact that the Italian taxpayers eventually had to cover the cost of rather mediocre services rendered by Russian "specialists" is very indicative in the context of the Russian mission being called "humanitarian". But if it isn't humanitarian in its essence, then what is it, after all? In this regard, it is worth recalling that 80% of Russian equipment brought to Italy is not intended to tackle the coronavirus, and noting some details about a few members of the "rescue mission".
Not so long ago, I wrote that a group of Russian "rescuers" included experts that are part of a Scientific Research Institute of Microbiology of the Russian defense ministry (48th Central Research Institute), where pulmonary plague – the twin sister of COVID-19 – was created in the Soviet era. But now it turns out that Italian taxpayers covered the cost of the Russian operation, led by someone who had defended and whitewashed the bloody regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
The Russian contingent in Italy is led by Deputy Chief of the Russian army's radiation, chemical and bio defense troops General Sergey Kikot. It was he who defended Bashar al-Assad's dictatorial regime when the latter was accused of employing chemical weapons against civilians in the Syrian city of the Douma, which left 43 dead and 500 wounded.
The Russian general hypocritically denied all allegations against Bashar al-Assad and stated that evidence of the chemical attack was "staged."
However, not only is Sergey Kikot a defender of bloody regimes, he's also a recognized expert in the disposal of chemical weapons and hazardous material. Naturally, concealment of the facts of CW and HM use, including in Syria, is also within his professional range.
Besides Kikot, some other members of the Russian team are worth noting: Lt. Col. Alexander Yumanov (worked on Ebola in Guinea), Colonel Alexei Smirnov (expert epidemiologist on the prevention of infectious diseases, who partook in the development of a vaccine against Ebola), Lt. Col. Gennady Eremin (an expert in bio warfare who worked against swine fever), and Lt.Col. Vyacheslav Kulish (an expert on developing protection against viral bio agents, who worked in programs against Ebola and the plague). Incidentally, the 48th Central Research Institute and Vector Research Lab were the two facilities really focused on the Ebola virus, of which I mentioned in one of my previous pieces.
Meanwhile, even in Italy itself, access to information about Russia's "humanitarian" mission has been restricted, which a priori suggests that it's in fact not-so-humanitarian.
In fact, the Italians allowed foxes into their chicken coop, not only by opening the door and laying out the red carpet, but also by covering all respective costs. I think this incident will go down in world history as an example of grand-scale naivety bordering with utter stupidity, as well as the most effective intelligence operation on the soil of a potential adversary, carried out at the expense of that very adversary.