On March 23rd and 24th, Russia sent 14 IL-76 military transport planes to Italy, with medical experts, virologists and equipment to aid in the fight against COVID-19.
Russian Aerospace Forces Il-76 transports loaded with medical supplies and medical specialists are flying to Pratica di Mare Airbase, near Rome, Italy, in the ongoing COVID-19 relief effort.
The aircraft originated from Chkalovsky Military Airfield near Shchyolkovo, Moscow Oblast, approximately 31 kilometers (19 miles) northeast of Moscow. Photos distributed to media by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) showed six Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport aircraft (NATO codename “Candid”) sitting in a parking area/taxiway, apparently before departure. Reports indicate that at least 14 Il-76s were readied for the mission and that the airlifters involved in the relief mission belong to Russia’s 224th Air Detachment of Military Transport Aviation operating the Il-76MD. The aircraft have a reported payload capability of 48,000 kg (105,822 lb.), or 50 tons of cargo that apparently includes medical support vehicles in addition to supplies and medical personnel.
In response to a request from the Italian side, the Russian president confirmed his readiness to promptly provide the necessary assistance and outlined the specific parameters [of what Russia can offer],” the Kremlin’s press service reported.
The personnel, and equipment, sent to Italy are part of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces. They are special forces designed to conduct the most complex set of measures aimed at reducing the loss of associations and formations of the Ground Forces and ensuring their combat tasks assigned during operations in conditions of radioactive, chemical and biological contamination, as well as at enhancing their survivability and protection against high-precision and other weapons.
The basis of these Troops is realized by multifunctional separate brigades, having in their composition subunits capable to perform all activities, their tasks include:
- identification and assessment of the radiological, chemical and biological environment, scales and effects of damages of objects hazardous radiatively, chemically and biologically;
- protection of formations and units against the nuclear effects of mass destruction weapons and radiological, chemical and biological contamination;
- reducing the visibility of troops and facilities;
- disaster (damage) recovery in objects hazardous radiatively, chemically and biologically;
- causing loss to the enemy by using flame-incendiary means.
The videos of the loading and unloading of the IL-76 provide a glimpse into what exactly was being sent to Italy.
There are already at least 6,007 deaths in Italy. This the highest number around the globe. Furthermore, there are only 7,432 people recovered from the COVID-19, while the total number of cases was 63,927. For example in China, 72,440 people recovered from the COVID-19, while there were 81,054 cases. The European health care system demonstrates its inability to contain the crisis.