The National - News
Moscow shares shots of Beirut port blast damage
Russia has sent Lebanon satellite images of Beirut’s port before and after the explosion that rocked the city last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said last week that it had agreed to provide the shots in response to a request from Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
“At the request of the Lebanese government, today we handed over materials prepared by Roscosmos ... satellite images, and we hope they will help in the investigation of the causes of this incident,” Mr Lavrov said after talks with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib at the Kremlin yesterday.
“This issue is now receiving quite serious attention in Lebanon and we hope it can be closed.”
The blast, one of the world’s largest non-nuclear explosions, killed more than 215 people, injured thousands and destroyed parts of the Lebanese capital on August 4, 2020.
An investigation into the incident is continuing.
Mr Lavrov said he and Mr
Bou Habib had also discussed the possible participation of Russian companies in rebuilding infrastructure destroyed in the blast.
The investigation has been hindered by demonstrations and numerous legal hurdles.
In October, seven people were killed in street clashes after Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies called for the dismissal of the judge leading the investigation, claiming bias.
Investigative judge Tarek Bitar said he had evidence implicating some of the country’s most prominent former ministers and sitting MPs in the explosion.
Former prime minister Hassan Diab, former public works minister Youssef Fenianos and Nohad Machnouk, a former interior minister and sitting MP, were summoned by Mr Bitar for interrogation, as were former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter.
The investigation has been suspended twice owing to complaints filed by three of the former ministers calling for the judge to be replaced.