Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow has sent Lebanon the satellite images taken by Roscosmos space agency from the day of last year’s colossal explosion at Beirut port in an effort to help with the ongoing investigation.
“At the request of the Lebanese government, today we handed over materials prepared by Roscosmos... [which are] satellite images, and we hope they will help in the investigation of the causes of this incident. This issue is now receiving quite serious attention in Lebanon and we hope it can be closed,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday.
More than 215 people were killed and about 6,500 wounded in the explosion at Beirut’s port on August 4, 2020, when a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate, which had been stored unsafely at the port for years, detonated.
The explosion, one of the world's largest non-nuclear explosions, also flattened the port and swathes of the Lebanese capital. It further left Lebanon’s economy — already reeling from multiple crises, including the breakdown of its banking system, spiraling inflation, and the coronavirus pandemic — in tatters.
The investigation into the causes of the blast still continues.
“We hope that Lebanese specialists will answer this question that is really becoming a very powerful political irritant for Lebanon,” Lavrov further said, adding that images that captured the port before and after the blast should help determine the cause of the deadly explosion.
The Russian foreign minister made the announcement after talks with his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib, in the Russian capital.
The pair also discussed the “possible participation” of Russian companies in rebuilding infrastructure destroyed in the explosion, Lavrov added, but he did not name which companies could be involved.