Saturday, September 16, 2006

Russia to Send Battalion to Lebanon

AP reports that the Russian government has authorized the sending of an engineer battalion to Lebanon in early October. It will carry its own supplies, will restore 6 infrastructure facilities, and will stay for the maximum permitted period of 3 months.

[Senior Russian Defence Ministry official Lt. Gen. Ivan] Tsygankov said the battalion would be deployed near Saida and would restore bridges located some 30 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Saida.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov had said earlier that Russia would send a battalion of up to 400 engineers and experts at disarming unexploded ordnance. He said it would not be involved in peacekeeping operations.

Russia accused Israel of using excessive force in its 34-day war in Lebanon, which caused widespread damage to its infrastructure and left unexploded bombs and other weaponry scattered throughout the country.

Some 3,250 United Nations peacekeepers are fanned out across the south of Lebanon, part of a force planned to reach 15,000.
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