Russia has defended the World Health Organisation (WHO) against recent criticism by U.S. President Donald Trump, arguing that the UN body is contributing significantly to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Trump said the WHO “really blew” its response to the virus by focusing too much on China and giving the U.S. bad advice at the beginning of the outbreak. In a tweet, he also said Washington would take a “good look” at its WHO funding.
The WHO “is now doing a lot to curb the pandemic,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told state television on Saturday, according to the TASS news agency.
He said Kremlin also wants the WHO to become more effective, but that for such to happen, states would have to do more to support the global health organisation.
On Friday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also praised the “indispensable” role the WHO was playing.
Should Washington end its WHO contributions, Peskov expressed hope that it would not weaken the global body. He also said he hoped the U.S. would overcome the coronavirus crisis.
More than half a million people are infected with the virus in the U.S., according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have been strained for years over a range of international conflicts. Nonetheless, the presidents of both countries were able to hold a constructive dialogue, Peskov said.
“Relations are bad, but the presidents speak to one another,” he noted.