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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – April 16, 2020

Today in Russia: Victory Day parade finally postponed; All Russian regions now have COVID-19 cases; Russia accepts US offer to send ventilators if needed; Yandex working at COVID-19 home testing; Majority of imported cases in China came from Russia; US accuses Russia of unsafe maneuver in the Mediterranean, anti-satellite test ; Snowden requests 3-year residency extension in Russia; Just over half of SME salaries will be covered by the state as part of stimulus measures topping 2 trillion rubles.

After much controversy, Russia announced that the 9th of May Victory Day parade would be postponed due to coronavirus. After Altai reported its first case, all Russian regions now have confirmed COVID-19 cases.

After Russia sent a planeload of PPE and ventilators to New York, Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted US President Donald Trump’s offer of ventilators as US production ramps up, in the event that Russia suffers from a shortage.

Russian tech giant Yandex is working on an at-home coronavirus test along with local laboratories. The service will allow Muscovites over the age of 65 to be tested in their own homes by a medical professional.

The majority of China’s imported cases have come from Russia, representing a major shift since Russia first closed its border with China to stem the import of cases.

The US accused Russia of carrying out an unsafe maneuver in the Mediterranean on Wednesday. The US said that a Navy surveillance plane was put at risk while a Russian plane performed a high-speed inverted maneuver in front of the US aircraft during an “unsafe” intercept.

The US also accused Russia of carrying out anti-satellite missile tests, which have the capacity of destroying satellites in low-earth orbit.

Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor, has requested a 3-year extension of his Russian residence permit. Snowden is accused of espionage and theft of government property in the US for leaking a mass of information on American intelligence and revealing a mass surveillance program.

Maxim Reshetnikov, the Russian economic development minister, said that the state will subsidize the wages of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the minimum wage for two months. This will cover slightly over half of SME salaries, he claimed. Reshetnikov also said that over 2 trillion rubles has been spent so far on stimulus measures.

PHOTO: Last year’s Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square, May 9, 2019 (Xinhua/Bai Xueqi)