Russia on Thursday condemned the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and in Gaza, and called for the release of Israeli hostages. In a strongly worded statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin also called for Israel to respect Lebanon's sovereignty. "The continued destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories and the disproportionate use of force by Israel, which causes suffering to the civilian population, can be neither understood nor justified," he said. "Equally unacceptable are any manifestations of terrorism and the taking of hostages, who must be released immediately and unconditionally," he said. Russia is a member of the Quartet group of international mediators, which also includes the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.