EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell believes that Russia and China exploit the sanitary crisis, caused by the coronavirus, and provide aid to other countries in a bid to increase their geopolitical role in the world. He expressed this stance in an interview for la Repubblica daily that came out Thursday.
"It is obvious that China and Russia seek to increase their influence on a global scale. It is logical that they use the sanitary crisis to that extent, too, applying all their capabilities. This strategy is based on demonstration that certain political systems are more effective than ours [European] in fighting the pandemic," Borrell stated.
According to Borrell, "major powers, such as China and Russia, use the media to step up the effect of their aid, increasing their geopolitical role in the world, by forming public opinion, among other things."
The High Representative recalled that the EU had also provided aid — first, to China, and later, to Italy — which included dispatch of EU-funded medical mission to Italy’s Lombardy, TASS reports.
"Europe is there, but we must establish better communication with the governments," the diplomat commented.
Earlier, Russian Ambassador in Italy Sergei Razov told TASS that there are no geopolitical scheming behind Russian aid to Italy and recalled that there are also noble causes, such as solidarity, mutual assistance and support.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 1,500,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 88,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far over 331,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 10,131 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 698 patients having recovered from the virus. Moscow accounts for the majority of cases (6,698). Russia’s latest data indicates 76 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.