Russia calls for release of kidnapped soldiers

Russia on Wednesday called for the release of two Israeli soldiers held in Lebanon by Hizbullah operatives and urged Israel to show restraint in its military response. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the urgent task was to avoid the Hizbullah raid in Israel and ensuing Israeli military offensive in southern Lebanon degenerating into a "full-blown confrontation." A statement called for "the swiftest possible release of the Israeli soldiers and an end to the firing on Israeli territory." The Ministry added that Israel, for its part, should "show restraint and a cool head, not permit the destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and refrain from the disproportionate use of force."