The governor of Russia's meteorite-hit Chelyabinsk region wants world leaders to come to his remote region to discuss how the international community can defend against such threats in the future.
Chelyabinsk Governor Mikhail Yurevich spoke to reporters in Moscow Monday via a phone link. He said no one country can afford to mount the kind of "space defense" needed to protect against meteorites like the one that exploded over his region Friday -- or even more cataclysmic strikes.
"Naturally, we would be very happy if the leaders of all countries came to our town to hold a conference about meteorites," said Yurevich. "It would be good for business, we would recoup a billion (rubles of damage).''
Friday's meteorite explosion blew out the windows of nearly 5,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk. More than 1,000 people were injured, most of them in the city of the same name.
Konstantin Tsybko, who represents Chelyabinsk region in the upper house of Russia's parliament, said Chelyabinsk is the first city in history to survive a "space attack."
"This is the first town in the history of our civilization that came under a space attack, survived this attack, and survived it successfully. Nobody was killed," said Tsybko. "I think a miracle happened and God saved the Chelyabinsk region."
He added that Chelyabinsk residents should not fear a repetition of the incident.
"Chelyabinsk is now the safest place on Earth because meteorites never strike twice in the same place," said Tsybko. "Therefore, I think we have a positive effect in the fact that Chelyabinsk residents may feel safe because nothing like this will happen in the next few hundred years."
Several dozen residents are still being treated in hospitals.