The plot is thickening in the enchanting story of Russia's humanitarian aid to Italy. And the newly revealed context is becoming more and more embarrassing for Russia.
The fact that Russian aid sent to Italy in the shape of military intelligence operatives and cargo, 80% of which is useless in fighting COVID-19, even paid for by Italian taxpayers, has long ceased to be a secret. Earlier it was revealed that the humanitarian aid being sent on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church and personally Patriarch Kirill to the Italian region of Puglia is actually humanitarian aid China had sent to Switzerland. And it seems that the Italian government is already fed up with this "help" stinking of lies and hypocrisy.
Recent reports say the Italian government intends to reject Russia's proposal to extend their military mission, allegedly aimed at combating COVID-19. The thing is that, in fact, none of the Italian regions, such as Friuli, Venice, or others, actually turned to the Russian military with a request for assistance. Although, oddly enough, Moscow claims the opposite.
By the way, the events in Puglia took an interesting turn after Patriarch Kirill sent his “humanitarian aid” there. The office of the regional chief, Michele Emiliano, explained that they had requested humanitarian assistance from the ROC because St. Nicholas Cathedral was located in the area. Almost as soon as the appeal was sent, Russian military, now stationed in Lombardy, emerged, offering "disinfection" services. The Puglia governor's office naturally turned down the proposal, noting they hadn't requested such services.
But the Italian publication “La Repubblica” was much more eloquent in it's recent piece, noting that Italy has been receivin large-scale assistance from Brussels, while the Russian propaganda expedition (this is a literal translation) only harms the country's authorities.
So, it took the Italians a little more time than expected, but it’s good that it finally happened. Fortunately, Rome was able to see behind the guise of goodwill a large-scale PR stunt promoting Sergei Shoigu and his warriors, as well as Patriarch Kirill with his FSB crooks in robes, and Russia itself, the aggressor and outcast.
Fortunately, Italians at the political level are now clearly seeing Russian “assistance” as a large-scale infowar operation aimed at extending presence to other regions. For example, take Puglia. Moreover, the first batch of aid was sent to Puglia by "God's servants" from the Russian Orthodox Church, which once again proves a clear link between the ROC and the defense ministry (or rather, the GRU, which oversees operations outside Russia).
It is not surprising, by the way, that the Russian Orthodox Church hustled that Chinese humanitarian aid aimed for Switzerland, because it is known fact that the GRU has feelings for this European country, using it as a bridgehead for many of its operations.