Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Moscow Suspends Diplomatic Presence in Sanaa, Moves Staff to Riyadh

Moscow Suspends Diplomatic Presence in Sanaa, Moves Staff to Riyadh

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017 - 13:45
People gather around the engine of a drone aircraft, which the Houthi rebels said they have downed in Sanaa, Yemen October 1, 2017. REUTERS

Russia has suspended its diplomatic presence in Yemen and all its staff has left the country due to the situation in the capital Sanaa, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday.

The Russian ambassador to Yemen and some diplomatic staff will be working temporarily from the Saudi capital Riyadh, Zakharova said.

A Russian plane evacuated embassy staff and some Russian nationals from Sanaa earlier on Tuesday, Saudi state news agency SPA said, citing the Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi movement that controls the Yemeni capital.

The agency quoted an official source in the coalition as saying it had received a request for permission for a Russian plane to evacuate the personnel, and that the plane had left Sanaa's airport.

The crimes Houthi militias have committed were not only limited to chasing followers of Saleh and spreading killing, destruction and intimidation in the city but also to the media, including an unnamed reporter for the Russian agency Sputnik in Sanaa, who was kidnapped by the Houthi gangs a few days ago.

Earlier this month, two separate sources said that a Sputnik freelance correspondent in Yemen was being held captive by Houthi rebels along with 40 others in the building of Yemen Today's broadcasting station in Sanaa, which belonged to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

On December 11, the correspondent's wife told Sputnik that he has not made contact for almost a week.

Editor Picks