Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Yun Ma during a session of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia in 2017 [File: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/Reuters]

Russia has received more than a million face masks and 200,000 coronavirus testing kits as a gift from Jack Ma, becoming the latest country to welcome a donation from the Chinese billionaire businessman amid the global health crisis.

Calling Ma “a real friend”, the Defence Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the cofounder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba had spoken by telephone to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and told him how touched he had been by Moscow’s own help for China.

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The foundations of Alibaba and Ma said on Wednesday that they

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