Lebanese President Michel Aoun has officially asked Russia for satellite images taken on the day when a major explosion hit the Beirut port in August 2020, Lebanon’s presidential office said in a statement on Twitter on Friday.
The president made the request during a meeting with Russian ambassador Alexander Rodakov on Friday morning.
In the context of the development of Russian-Lebanese relations, the Russian side has expressed willingness to provide all possible assistance, “particularly since we have received a request for control data, and this is related to aerial photography and satellites,” said Dmitry Lebedev, political advisor at the Russian Embassy in Lebanon.
A few days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country “will consider the possibility of assisting in the investigation of the Beirut port explosion, and will provide satellite images if available.”
“We cannot comment on political processes related to the Lebanese judiciary”, he said.
He added, “we cannot support one side against another, because this will backfire on our efforts at reconciliation between the Lebanese parties.”
On August 4, 2020, a powerful explosion rocked the Lebanese capital’s port, estimated to have been equivalent to 1,500 tonnes of TNT.
The shockwave destroyed and damaged thousands of buildings in the city and beyond, killing 219 people and leaving 6,500 injured. More than 300,000 people lost their homes. According to the Lebanese Interior Ministry, the explosion occurred after a warehouse containing over 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate caught fire during welding work.