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    Russian combat engineers to start working in Lebanon in October

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    "An advance group of combat engineers has successfully completed a preliminary assessment of the situation, and a Russian combat engineer battalion will start work in Lebanon at the beginning of October," Sergei Ivanov said.

    ORENBURG REGION, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian combat engineer battalion will start work in Lebanon in early October, the defense minister said Wednesday.

    "An advance group of combat engineers has successfully completed a preliminary assessment of the situation, and a Russian combat engineer battalion will start work in Lebanon at the beginning of October," Sergei Ivanov said.

    Before the August 14 ceasefire, Israeli military operations claimed the lives of about 1,000 Lebanese civilians, forced nearly a quarter of the country's population to flee, and demolished large parts of the country's infrastructure.

    Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, said engineering equipment and construction materials will be delivered to Lebanon by a Russian cargo ship, and that personnel will be flown into the country by air force transport aircraft.

    He said the battalion is ready to start a relief operation near the city of Sayda, 48 km (30 miles) south of Beirut, and outside the UN peacekeepers' zone of control.

    "We only have to finish one formality - to sign an agreement on the status of the combat engineer battalion with the Lebanese government," Ivanov said.

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