The Federal Emergency Management Agency received 45 Russian ventilators on April 1, shortly after President Trump asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. As BuzzFeed reports, "they were part of a lopsided aid deal between the countries that would ultimately see Russia delivering a little more than $1 million worth of supplies to the US in April, followed by the US sending about $5.6 million to Russia over the following two months." But the Aventa-M ventilators ended up in the trash. Not only were the models made by a subsidiary of Rostec, a Russian state-owned company under US sanctions, but they weren't of the correct electrical voltage for US hospitals and were suspected of causing fires that killed six people in Russian hospitals, as Reuters reported at the time.
After Trump touted the "very nice" delivery, the ventilators ended up sitting unused in storage facilities in New York and New Jersey, per BuzzFeed. By then, Russia's health care regulator had suspended their use after the fires, reports the Moscow Times. It reauthorized the Aventa-M units in July, deciding they hadn't caused the fires, but FEMA didn't use its stock. The agency tells BuzzFeed that the 45 units were "disposed of following strict hazardous waste disposal regulatory guidelines." This has further rankled Democrats upset over the unbalanced arrangement that saw the US deliver 200 ventilators to Russia in June, per BuzzFeed. Unlike other ventilators, the Russian models were delivered without emergency FDA approval, raising "concerns about shortcuts taken by the Trump administration," Reuters reported. (Read more FEMA stories.)