Russia billed the U.S. nearly $660,000 for its medical aid flight last month that included thousands of pieces of equipment not typically used by hospitals, including chemical warfare-style gas masks and household cleaning gloves, according to a government record of the shipment.
The cargo also included 45 ventilators that were not immediately useable because of voltage-related issues, according to two U.S. officials, ABC News reports.
It was not immediately clear how useful the April 1 shipment to New York's JFK Airport has been for nearby hospitals. Thousands of respirators, surgical gloves, medical clothing and antiseptic packets were also included in the flight.
Still, the details and price tag of the shipment, which have not been previously reported, challenge public descriptions by the Kremlin and U.S. President Donald Trump and raise questions about whether the shipment served primarily as a public relations coup for Russia, known by U.S. intelligence for waging disinformation campaigns.
"I'm not concerned about Russian propaganda. Not even a little bit," Trump told reporters during an April 2 press briefing.
Trump said the cargo was offered by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a private phone call.
"He offered a lot of medical, high quality stuff that I accepted and that may save a lot of lives. I'll take it every day," Trump said.
Moscow referred to the flight in its state-run media as "humanitarian aid" that New Yorkers would be grateful to receive. Russia's foreign ministry said the Kremlin was covering the cost of half the value of the cargo with the other half being covered by the United States.
Foreign policy experts though have questioned the move by Trump, saying it was a propaganda coup for the Kremlin as it continues to try to undercut U.S. interests.
According to Russia’s foreign ministry, the money for the supplies came from the Russian Direct Investment Fund – Russia's sovereign wealth fund that was sanctioned by Treasury in June 2015 as part of sanctions punishing Russia for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Also, at least some of the ventilators were made by a Siberian factory that is owned by a Russian state company sanctioned by the U.S. over Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment about the utility of the cargo. On the question of sanctions, a senior administration official said the sanctions on the Russian Direct Investment Fund don't apply to medical equipment and supplies.
The batch included a total of 4,000 M-95 "full face masks with filters," which are military-grade masks used to protect against chemical and biological agents. The mask needed by U.S. health care workers and other frontline responders is the "N95" respirator, which does not cover a person's entire face.
The agency said the flight also included 15,000 respirators, some 80,000 packs of skin antiseptic, 30,000 surgical gloves and about 400,000 pieces of medical clothing.