Russia is charging the US R12,4 million for a planeload of gas masks, gloves, and antiseptic
- Russia billed the US nearly R12,4 million for a shipment of thousands of supplies ranging from military-grade masks, respirators, and household cleaning gloves, ABC News reported.
- The 1 April shipment raised concerns when federal agencies didn't immediately announce whether it was a transaction or donation.
- One month after the delivery, it is still "not immediately clear how useful" the supplies are, the outlet reported, though President Donald Trump thanked the country for the supplies.
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The United States owes Russia nearly R12,4 million for a planeload of supplies delivered last month to New York and New Jersey state officials in hopes of aiding the early response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, ABC News reported.
"The State Department received a final invoice from the Government of Russia for $659,283," a FEMA spokesperson told ABC News. "Once the routing instructions are received, the State Department will remit payment and FEMA will reimburse the State Department."
The agency told ABC that the supplies included a total of 4,000 M-95 military-grade full-face masks that protect against chemical and biological agents, as opposed to the "N95" respirator, which is required for frontline responders and only covers the nose and mouth.
The flight also included 15,000 respirators, some 80,000 packs of skin antiseptic, 30,000 surgical gloves, and about 400,000 pieces of medical clothing, the outlet reported.
The supplies landed at New York's John F. Kennedy airport on 1 April as Gov. Andrew Cuomo was beginning to ramp up his calls for federal support to bolster struggling healthcare centers in the state and New York City, as it was on the rise to be the US epicenter of the outbreak.
One month after the delivery, it is still "not immediately clear how useful" the supplies are, ABC News reported. The newly revealed hefty price tag of the flight comes after reports said it was unclear if the shipment was a gift or a transaction.
Reuters previously reported that President Donald Trump accepted the delivery from Russian President Vladimir Putin and praised the help.
"I am not concerned about Russian propaganda, not even a little bit," Trump said at a press briefing last month. "He (Putin) offered a lot of medical, high-quality stuff that I accepted. And that may save a lot of lives. I'll take it every day."
The administration and other federal agencies did not announce the cost of the shipment, but a senior administration official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the United States paid "outright" and "below market value".
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