• President Donald Trump says he’s sending ventilators to Russian President Vladimir Putin to aid Russia’s coronavirus response. Trump and Putin spoke on the phone Thursday. 
  • Previously, Trump pushed back on requests from US governors for ventilators and other supplies. 
  • As Trump moves to send life-saving equipment to Russia, the US remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • COVID-19 cases and deaths are expected to rise as US states move to reopen and lift coronavirus-related restrictions, which Trump has pushed for. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an offer from President Donald Trump for ventilators to aid the country’s coronavirus response, Reuters reported

Trump in mid-April signaled he might send ventilators to Russia to help it with COVID-19, and it appears the two leaders sealed the deal on a Thursday phone call, in which they also discussed arms control, according to the White House. 

A White House readout of the call indicated that Trump told Putin the US is “ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia.” Separately, a Kremlin readout of the call said it was “proposed from the American side to send a batch of medical equipment to Russia.”

Later in the day, Trump told reporters at the White House that Russia is having a “hard time” with COVID-19, and that the US will send “some ventilators” at the “appropriate time.”

—NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) May 7, 2020

It’s unclear how many ventilators are being offered to Russia by Trump. The White House did not offer a comment when contacted by Insider. The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Trump previously pushed back on requests from US governors for ventilators, essentially telling states they were own their own in terms of acquiring vital medical equipment amid a pandemic.

Accordingly, governors across the US have looked to each other for help and in some cases made deals with other countries for life-saving equipment. Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, orchestrated a deal with South Korea for coronavirus tests. Similarly, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, accepted 1,000 ventilators from China.

As governors pleaded for ventilators and other equipment in March, Trump said, “Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work.”

“The Federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk,” the president added. 

The US is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with the most reported cases and confirmed fatalities in the world. And even as Trump moves to send life-saving medical equipment to Russia, his administration has reportedly predicted that the US’s daily coronavirus death toll would nearly double over the next month, with the number of new daily infections expected to rise from 25,000 to 200,000. 

As of Thursday afternoon, the US had 1.2 million reported cases of coronavirus, and nearly 75,000 confirmed fatalities from the virus. Comparatively, Russia had over 177,000 reported cases, and 1,625 confirmed deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

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