Russia on Sunday sent the first of nine military aircraft that will carry a total of 100 virus experts and medical specialists from Russia to Italy to help them fight the new Corona epidemic.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the aid mission would be sent after an agreement between President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
The Kremlin said the two leaders spoke on Saturday evening.
Military transport aircraft arrived overnight at a runway on the outskirts of Moscow, and eight medical teams were ready to fly to Italy with mobile disinfection units and medical equipment, according to the Ministry of Defense.
The first planes took off Sunday and are scheduled to land at the Pratica de Mer military airport on the outskirts of Rome, according to the ministry.
The planes are to carry 100 people, including virus and epidemiologists from the Ministry of Defense who have “extensive global experience in fighting epidemics”.
The ministry said experts had previously been involved in fighting the Ebola epidemic, African swine fever and anthrax.
Russia has recorded 306 confirmed infections with the Corona virus so far. Italy recorded 4,825 deaths from the virus as of Saturday.
Putin visited Italy in July last year and he has repeatedly spoken of his long friendship with former Prime Minister Silvio Borlusconi.