Russia is preparing to evacuate its citizens from Lebanon, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday as leaders of the Group of Eight began discussions at a summit set to be dominated by the violence in the Middle East.
Lavrov warned that the fighting between Israel and Lebanese guerrillas could ignite a wider conflict, and said the international community had to use all means possible to end the violence immediately.
"If Lebanon explodes, we all know ... how it can resonate across other countries in the region," Lavrov told reporters at the G-8 meeting in St. Petersburg.
Lavrov called the abduction of the servicemen "without a doubt a provocation aimed among other things at undermining the internal dialogue in Lebanon."
"We must do everything possible to stop the situation from escalating and to prevent the destruction of infrastructure in Lebanon," Lavrov said.
He also said that Russia "has begun work for the evacuation of our citizens" from Lebanon," but gave no details.
The United States and France have also begun preparations and Britain dispatched two ships, including an aircraft carrier, to the eastern Mediterranean in apparent preparation for evacuations.