RUSSIALINK: “Peskov denies that Russia could have shipped defective ventilators to U.S.” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. Oct 21 (Interfax) – Russia could not have shipped defective ventilators to the United States, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“This couldn’t have happened. These ventilators are broadly used in medical institutions and hospitals in very different cities across Russia. Some ventilators might break down. Any device sometimes breaks down and requires repairs,” Peskov told journalists when commenting on reports that 45 ventilators shipped to the U.S. by Russia have been disposed of.

“The speculation that they were designed for a different voltage is hypothetical. There are transformers and voltage stabilizers. There’s no problem about that,” he said.

Russia shipped the ventilators to the U.S. at a moment that was critical not only for that country, but also for the entire world, Peskov said. “Russia did all it could in technological and technical terms to send such aid,” he said.

Numerous countries were exchanging such assistance at the time, Peskov said. “Indeed, there were some rare ugly attempts to politicize this. We have always been opposed to that,” he said.

“As for what our American partners decided to do about that, it’s not our issue,” Peskov said.

Buzzfeed reported earlier with reference to an employee of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency that the agency had disposed of the 45 ventilators donated to the U.S. by Russia last spring. Buzzfeed said it was unclear when exactly the ventilators were disposed of.

Buzzfeed said the 45 Aventa-M ventilators sent by Russia were part of an aid deal between the two countries, under which a Russian plane carried medical supplies worth a little more than $1 million to New York City on April 1, “followed by the U.S. sending about $5.6 million to Russia over the following two months.”

The Russian ventilators were divided up among hospitals in New York City and New Jersey, but were never used. It turned out later, according to Buzzfeed, that the Aventa-M ventilators “required an electrical voltage not compatible in the U.S., meaning they could not be used without an adapter that hospitals did not have.” Moreover, the ventilators were made by a Russian company under U.S. sanctions, it said.

Buzzfeed also mentioned that this same type of ventilators caught fire at Russian hospitals weeks later, after which they were put into storage facilities in the U.S.

Aventa-M ventilators were in service at Spasokukotsky Hospital in Moscow and St. George Hospital in St. Petersburg, where fires killed six people in all on May 9 and May 12, respectively. An inquiry showed that ventilators caught fire in both incidents.

After that, the Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare (Roszdravnadzor) suspended the use of Aventa-M ventilators manufactured after April 1, 2020.

Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies (KRET) told Interfax in July that the Ural Instrument-Engineering Plant, which is located in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia and incorporated in KRET, had resumed deliveries of new Aventa-M medical ventilators under contracts which were concluded earlier.

“Aventa-M ventilators may be cleared for use only after extra checks of their functional and technical performance and the issuance of the relevant documents,” Roszdravnadzor said in a statement at the time.