Trump offers Russia assistance as its coronavirus cases soar

Trump offers Russia assistance as its coronavirus cases soar
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President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE spoke with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFox News: 'Entirely unacceptable' for 'NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson' Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia next week MORE on Thursday to commemorate the 1945 Allied victory over Nazi Germany and discuss efforts to combat the novel coronavirus.

Trump said he was prepared to assist Russia in combating COVID-19, according to White House deputy press secretary Judd DeereJudd DeereHere's how presidents move into the White House in just hours on Inauguration Day Pence's relationship with Trump fractures in final days Trump stares down new impeachment threat MORE, an offer the president has extended to other countries.

Trump later told reporters in the Oval Office that he offered to send ventilators to Russia to help the country treat patients with the coronavirus.

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“If they need ventilators, we’d love to send them some and we will do that at the appropriate time,” he said during a meeting with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) Thursday afternoon.

Russia’s count of coronavirus cases soared to more than 177,000 after Moscow reported 11,231 new infections on Thursday.

“President Trump and President Putin discussed progress on defeating the coronavirus pandemic,” Deere said in a statement. “President Trump reiterated that the United States is working hard to care for Americans at home and is also ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia.”

Trump had been invited by Putin to attend Russia’s annual May Day parade this year marking the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. In November, the president said he was considering traveling to Moscow for the trip, but the White House said in March that he had declined the invitation.

Putin was forced last month to postpone the May 9 parade due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Russia typically uses the annual event to display its military power.

The two leaders also discussed arms control on Thursday’s call, and Trump “reaffirmed that the United States is committed to effective arms control that includes not only Russia, but also China, and looks forward to future discussions to avoid a costly arms race,” according to Deere.

—Updated at 4:22 p.m.