Russia says Trump move to cut WHO funding over coronavirus is selfish

FILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov attends the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference in Moscow, Russia November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Wednesday condemned U.S President Donald Trump for cutting funding to the World Health Organisation, saying his decision was selfish and hurt a body that many countries were looking to for leadership amid the coronavirus crisis.

Trump, who has faced criticism for his administration’s response to the coronavirus epidemic, has grown hostile towards the WHO and on Tuesday halted funding to it over its handling of the pandemic.

The United States is the WHO’s biggest overall donor.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday that the U.S. announcement was “very alarming”.

“This is an example of a very selfish approach by the U.S. authorities to what is happening in the world as regards the pandemic,” Ryabkov was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying.

“Such a blow to this organisation at a time when the eyes of the world community are in many ways looking precisely to it is a step worthy of condemnation and censure,” he said.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn