Russia urges against visiting Lebanon as US renews travel warning


The Russian embassy in Beirut has recommended that its citizens avoid traveling to Lebanon “until the situations calm down in the south of the country,” media reports said.

Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov meanwhile told al-Jadeed television that the embassy “has not issued a new statement calling on citizens to leave Lebanon.”

“It is an old version that has been present since last year and is still valid until today,” Rudakov added.

“We tell our citizens not to come to Lebanon before the southern arena calms down, and as for the citizens present in Lebanon, we have left the choice to them to leave or stay,” the ambassador explained.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had on Wednesday called on the international community to warn Israel of the destructive consequences that any war on Lebanon might have.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut meanwhile reminded U.S. citizens to “strongly reconsider travel to Lebanon,” warning that “the security environment remains complex and can change quickly.”

“U.S. citizens in Lebanon should not travel to southern Lebanon, the Lebanon-Syria border area, or refugee settlements,” the U.S. warning said.

The border between Israel and Lebanon has seen daily exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah ever since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hezbollah's ally Hamas, which triggered the war in Gaza.

Fears those exchanges could escalate into full-blown war have only grown in recent weeks as cross-border attacks intensified, and after Israel revealed it had approved plans for a Lebanon offensive, prompting new threats from Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said during a visit to Washington on Wednesday that Israel could "take Lebanon back to the Stone Age, but we don't want to do it."

"We do not want war, but we are preparing for every scenario," he told reporters.

"Hezbollah understands very well that we can inflict massive damage in Lebanon if a war is launched," Gallant said.

Israel's allies, including key defense backer the United States, have been keen to avoid such an eventuality. A U.S. official said Washington is engaged in "fairly intensive conversations" with Israel, Lebanon and other actors, and believes that no side wants a "major escalation."

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Gallant on Tuesday that another war with Hezbollah could have "terrible consequences for the Middle East," and urged a diplomatic solution.

Germany on Wednesday, echoing a Canadian warning from the day before, "urgently requested" its citizens in Lebanon leave the country.

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