The Russian mission to Italy has eventually suffered a reputation collapse so the defense ministry was forced to recall its servicemen.
So, the story of the Russian "saviors" in the coronavirus-hit Italy is approaching its logical conclusion – and a quite unexpected one, too.
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at a conference call with his subordinates announced that Russian military doctors and biological warfare experts (in fact, representatives of the GRU military intelligence) who were allegedly sent to help Italy fight the COVID-19 (at the same time bringing cargo, of which 80% was useless to this end) are heading back home.
The withdrawal of the Russian intelligence team is set to start today.
It could seem natural that the brave Russian military are leaving as they've fulfilled the task and "defeated" the coronavirus in Italy, having disinfected a hundred, or perhaps a thousand public restrooms... But is it?
The fact is that, indeed, Italy is starting its path away from the incidence peak, while the number of recoveries has set a daily record of around 8,000. But, nevertheless, the epidemic hasn't fully loosened its grip so the country could probably still need some help of Russian "highly skilled medics".
Besides, just the other day, the Russian defense ministry intended to send its "assistance" to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, although the regional authorities never applied to Moscow for such help. Actually, none of the official government officials had. The very arrival of the Russian team was a fruit of an media campaign set up by Russian puppets in Italy and, oddly enough, Kremlin lobbyists in Germany.
It is also known that the Russians, few of whom have been disinfecting WCs, while dozens – doing their intelligence job, also offered their aid to Puglia region, where humanitarian aid from the Russian Orthodox Church had earlier been sent, authorized by Patriarch Kirill. Then the regional governor's office told the Russians that they had indeed requested humanitarian aid from their church (the region is home to an Orthodox St Nicholas temple), but they "didn't require" any services from the Russian military. Although, even that "humanitarian" move by Patriarch Kirill was nothing but hypocrisy as the batch had initially been sent from China to Switzerland...
So, literally on the eve of the decision to withdraw, Russian troops were rather pro-active and showed no intentions to leave. And then, suddenly, it's "mission complete", or rather, something went wrong.
In reality, it appears that the Russians realized that their "rescue" mission had failed miserably – its true goals have been revealed, while their allies who contributed to its implementation have long been known exposed over their venality to a "third party". But one more question remains relevant.
Indeed, Italian authorities are aware of the true objectives of the notorious mission and security agencies are now probably taking steps to calculate all implications of the GRU efforts on their soil… But no one can clearly predict the extent of the influence this "Russian aid" could have for shaping and further manipulating public opinion.
So it will take time for Italy to get this Russian bone out of its throat where it got stuck.