Russia on Tuesday began airlifting equipment and troops from a military engineering unit to Lebanon to aid the war-battered country's reconstruction.
The first flight carrying 17 soldiers and 80 tons of equipment left in the morning and a second plane was to leave Tuesday with 130 troops aboard, Russian air force commander Vladimir Mikhailov was quoted as saying by the state RIA-Novosti news agency.
In total over a three-day period, Russia will send about 300 soldiers and 130 tons of equipment, he said.
The unit, which will rebuild bridges in Lebanon destroyed during the 34-day war, will not take part in peacekeeping operations. Russia has not contributed troops to the 5,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping contingent in southern Lebanon.