NOVO-OGARYOVO, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to give Lebanon financial and humanitarian aid to help deal with the growing problem of Syrian refugees in the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
“Let us instruct our specialists to establish the scope of that assistance,” he said during a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Michel Suleiman.
Russia is ready to provide direct financial assistance, and also to send tents, medicines and other basic necessities to the refugees, he said.
According to UN statistics, there are more than 218,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which has a population of 4-million. The total number of Syrian refugees is estimated at over 670,000, and last month the UN predicted that this would rise to 1 million by June.
Syria has been locked in an increasingly bloody civil war since demonstrations against President Assad broke out in March 2011. According to UN estimates, at least 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Putin also indicated that the two countries would pursue cooperation in the defense and technology sector, adding that Russia views Lebanon as a friendly country with which it enjoys “longstanding, close, business-like relations.”