During a press briefing on Wednesday, Mr Trump said he planned to send the machines to help Russia.
“I think Russia is going to need ventilators. They’re having a hard time in Moscow. We’re going to help them,” he said.
It won’t be the first exchange of medical equipment between the countries during the coronavirus pandemic.
Footage surfaced of ventilators from Russian tech firm KRET — which is one of the companies under sanction by the US — being unloaded in New York.
Brian O’Toole, a former senior sanctions adviser for the US Treasury Department, told RBC that there are rules that allow sanctioned entities to be licensed for specific needs.
“[US Office for Foreign Assets Control] can always issue a specific internal licence for a transaction involving a sanctioned party,” Mr O’Toole said. “But the Trump administration might not have issued any licence.”
He went on to say that the incident should “still be considered a formal violation of sanctions.”
Moscow called the shipment of medical equipment “humanitarian aid,” but Washington confirmed that it paid for half of the shipment.
Russia has 27,938 coronavirus cases and 232 deaths.
Mr Trump said the US would also send help to Italy, Spain and France, which are also facing supply shortages.
The move comes at a time when the US is facing its own shortage of ventilators. Hospitals have had to develop policies for how they will distribute ventilators in the event of a shortage, a decision that could potentially be the difference between survival and death for some patients.
In anticipation of possible machine shortages, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of CPAP and BiPAP machines – often used to treat sleep apnea – to be used as last-resort ventilators. To try to make up for the shortage, Ford, Tesla and General Motors have begun manufacturing ventilators in their factories.