Cyprus Police Question Russian National In Connection To Beirut Blast - Spokesman

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 07th August, 2020) Cyprus police questioned a Russian citizen in connection to Tuesday's blast in the Beirut port after it received a request from Lebanon via the Interpol, police spokesman Christos Andreou said on Thursday.

Cyprus police did not reveal the Russian citizen's name but a security source told Reuters that 43-years-old businessman Igor Grechushkin was questioned at his Cyprus home as the possible owner of the ship that carried the ammonium nitrate cargo before it was confiscated and stored in Beirut port.

"There was a request from the Interpol Beirut to locate this person and ask certain questions related to the cargo," Andreou told Reuters.

Andreou added that the information regarding the questioning was delivered to the Lebanese side but did not reveal any details.

Grechushkin reportedly owned the Rhosus ship which was transporting ammonium nitrate from Georgia to Mozambique before being confiscated by Lebanon in 2014 upon arrival at the Beirut port to pick up additional cargo.

Earlier in the day, a diplomatic source told Sputnik that the businessman called the Russian consulate in Cyprus on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a massive explosion at the port of Beirut, which affected nearly half of the city, killed at least 157 people and injured more than 5,000 others. The local authorities have said hospitals have been overwhelmed in the effort to take care of a large number of injured residents and added that the death toll was expected to rise as search and rescue operations were still underway.