(RIA Novosti) - Russia urges Israel to ensure that humanitarian aid for war-torn Lebanon is allowed to reach the country safely and without hindrance, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Russian will send its first load of humanitarian goods to Lebanon via Cyprus on Monday.
Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said, "In response to a request from the Lebanese government, Moscow is ready to provide immediate humanitarian aid to Lebanon, to alleviate the civilian crisis in the country."
However, Israeli authorities have not given guarantees that humanitarian aid will be able to safely pass by land, the spokesman said, reports Trend.
The Israeli Air Force has orders to destroy all large vehicles, due to the risk that they may be transporting terrorist armaments, the ministry said. Media sources have reported that Israeli military jets bombed several trucks carrying medicine and food from the United Arab Emirates and Turkey in the Bekaa Valley.
"In view of this, we have taken the decision to send Russian humanitarian goods via Cyprus. We call on the United Nations, and all those who are able, to help in delivering this aid to its destination in Lebanon. We urge Israel to ensure its passage safely and without hindrance," the ministry's statement said.
The first plane sent by the Russian Emergencies Ministry carrying humanitarian aid for Lebanon will leave for Cyprus on July 24.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko said, "The main areas of humanitarian aid will be water supply and sanitation, healthcare, energy supply, food, and material-technical support for humanitarian operations.
Aid will focus on displaced people within the country, he said. "According to preliminary estimates, the total number of these people may have reached 500,000, including 200,000 children."
Hundreds have died in Israeli attacks on southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, following abductions of Israeli servicemen by Lebanese and Palestinian militants.
Israel has carried out bombings and air strikes in Lebanon, and sent its troops into the country, in a wave of violence that began July 12 when Islamic militant group Hizbollah captured two Israeli servicemen in a cross-border raid. Israel's attacks have left more than 300 Lebanese dead, and displaced hundreds of thousands. Over 30 Israelis have also lost their lives.