The US government has insisted that it is paying Russia for the 60 tons of equipment, including fans, masks, respirators and other items, previously contradicting the suggestion that they were a gift. Mr Trump, who had discussed shipping with Putin during a telephone conversation, he was pressured about it during yesterday's White House briefing – and insisted that he was happy to receive the delivery. He explained: "If they send things we need, I accept. Nice gesture.
"It was a good offer from President Putin.
"And I could have said no, thanks or thanks.
"And it was a big plane of high quality medical supplies and I said I would accept it."
Russia's Foreign Ministry had previously said that Moscow paid half the cost, with the United States paying the other half – but a senior government official insisted that Washington had contributed the full amount – although he admitted that the products would actually be purchased. with discount.
The official said: "The United States is buying supplies and equipment immediately, as in deliveries from other countries.
"We appreciate Russia selling us these items below market value."
The official did not provide an exact cost and the State Department did not respond to requests for more details.
Alina Polyakova, president of the European Policy Analysis Center, based in Washington, told the Foreignpolicy.com website: “This is a public relations scam for Russians.
"The United States has always had a reputation for being the first global leader in times of crisis and now you have a situation where an authoritarian state like Russia is providing humanitarian assistance to the most powerful country in the world."
Meanwhile, news of the shipment has angered Putin's critics, who say Russia is experiencing a severe shortage of the same items.
Putin, with the country reporting 3,548 coronavirus cases and 30 deaths, on Thursday extended a period of paid leave throughout Russia to reduce personal contact until April 30 – just a week after the Kremlin insisted there was no epidemic .
The plane arrived on Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and the equipment was due to be inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure it met US quality standards.
New York is currently at the heart of the pandemic in the United States.
New York City alone has 51,809 cases and 1,562 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.
However, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the rest of the country will soon face the same misery, explaining: "Projections say that today is a New York problem.
"Tomorrow, it's a problem in Kansas, Texas and New Mexico."