As of Monday, Russia had sent fourteen Il-76 military aircraft to Italy to assist in the fight against the coronavirus. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, Russian military experts will engage in disinfection and COVID-19 prevention after coordinating their operations with Italian authorities.
In a post on Twitter, Pushkov slammed Poland's actions, describing them as "meanness on the level of public policy".He noted that "from now on, Russia should not meet Poland half-way".
The tweet reads: "Poland did not let Russian aircraft carrying aid to Italy pass through its airspace. This is meanness at the level of public policy. Moreover, the help was for an ally of Poland in the EU and NATO. From now on, Russia should not meet Poland half-way, on any issue."
Internet users noticed that the aircraft route made a detour when flying to Italy, having to travel at least 3 000 kilometres more than if routed through Polish airspace.
On Saturday, 21 March, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Russia's commitment to provide aid for Italy, the nation most drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. According to Johns Hopkins University data, Italy has seen over 63,000 cases confirmed with 6,007 deaths as of 24 March.