Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to prevent Israeli-Lebanese tensions from escalation in a phone conversation.
"In light of the incident involving Israeli drones, which happened in the skies over Beirut on 25 August, Hariri asked Russia to use its reputation and influence to prevent a further escalation of tensions between Israel and Lebanon, as this jeopardises regional security. The Russian side confirmed its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and stability of friendly Lebanon, stressing the need for all sides to abide strictly by international law and Resolution 1701 of the UN Security Council in particular", the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Lebanon's Higher Defence Council is scheduled to hold an urgent meeting later on 27 August in the wake of the attacks.
The statement comes after two Israeli drones crashed on 25 August near Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut's southern suburbs, with one of them exploding in the air, leaving three people injured and causing significant damage to the facility. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has rejected reports about the group downing the two crashed drones, but threatened Israel with an "adequate" response.
Beirut, in turn, has described the flight of the Israeli "reconnaissance drones" as "aggression" and an "attack" on its sovereignty.
For years, Lebanon has been complaining about Israel’s practice of using Lebanese airspace for raids, stressing that such actions violate the sovereignty of the republic and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was enacted after the 2006 conflict between the two countries. In November 2018, the Israeli Army launched Operation Northern Shield in order to expose and neutralise cross-border attack tunnels that Hezbollah had dug from Lebanon into Israel. Following the launch of the operation, Israel, Lebanon claims, violated Lebanese airspace and territorial waters, as well as the border, almost every day.
However, Israel continues to target Hezbollah with air raids, regarding it to be among its main adversaries in the region. Hezbollah operates a military wing that fought Israel during the latter's invasions of Lebanon. Its military wing is also currently also fighting alongside forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 was intended to resolve the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict and was unanimously approved by the United Nations Security Council on 11 August 2006.