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Kremlin says coronavirus aid to Italy is not a ploy to get EU sanctions lifted

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Monday that medical assistance Russia was providing to Italy to help it battle the new coronavirus was not part of an attempt to get Rome help lift EU sanctions on Moscow.

The Russian army on Sunday began flying medical help to Italy after receiving an order from President Vladimir Putin, a goodwill gesture that Moscow labelled “From Russia with Love”.

When asked if Russia expected Italy to return the favour by trying to get EU sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine lifted, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the notion as absurd.

“We’re not talking about any conditions or calculations or hopes here,” Peskov said. “Italy is really in need of much more wide scale help and what Russia does is manageable,” he said.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow, Andrey Ostroukh and Tom Balmforth, Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn