Thursday, July 20, 2006

Russia calls for immediate ceasefire, while Israel gears for full-scale invasion of Lebanon

Russia on Thursday sharply criticized Israel for its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, saying it went "far beyond the boundaries of an anti-terrorist operation" and repeating calls for an immediate cease-fire. The Foreign Ministry said Russia affirms the need to fight terrorism and called for the immediate release of captive Israeli soldiers, but it added that "the unprecedented scale of the casualties and destruction" in Lebanon indicates that Israel is using too much force.
The comment echoed a statement by President Vladimir Putin, who said while hosting a summit of the Group of Eight nations Saturday that Russia had the impression Israel was "pursuing wider goals" than the return of abducted soldiers. While G-8 leaders cobbled together a statement on the Mideast conflict in a bid to display unity, the criticism of Israel and the cease-fire call contrasted with the U.S. stance. Washington has rejected calls for an immediate cease-fire and blamed Hezbollah for the conflict's intensity.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said "international humanitarian law" demands that strikes be launched only against military targets, even if there are suspicions that civilian facilities could be used to support military actions.

There are also unconfirmed reports that Lebanese military might join forces with Hezbollah in the case of full-scale invasion by Zionist aggressors.


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