Russia suspends Yemen diplomatic mission, moves to Riyadh

Russia suspends Yemen diplomatic mission, moves to Riyadh
Russia suspended its diplomatic presence in Yemen and all its staff have left the country due to the situation in the capital Sanaa, official sources said on Tuesday.
2 min read
12 December, 2017
Yemen has been gripped with a deadly war since March 2015 [Getty]

Russia suspended its diplomatic presence in Yemen and transferred all its staff to neighbouring Riyadh on Tuesday, the RIA news agency cited Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on Tuesday.

The Russian ambassador to Yemen and some diplomatic staff will be working temporarily out of the Saudi capital Riyadh, the Interfax news agency cited the ministry as saying, due to the situation in the capital Sanaa.

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 airport. 

Yemen's conflict, pitting the Houthi movement against a Saudi-led military alliance which backs a government based in the south, has unleashed what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

On Sunday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a renewed push to end the "stupid war" in Yemen, saying he hoped the Trump administration could pressure Saudi Arabia to ease the humanitarian crisis there.

"I believe this is a stupid war. I think this war is against the interests of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates... (and) of the people of Yemen," he said on CNN, employing unusually blunt language for the top UN diplomat.

"What we need is a political solution."

As the war drags on, more than eight million people are believed to be on the brink of famine and a cholera outbreak has caused more than 2,000 deaths. More than 10,000 people, half of which civillians, have been killed since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015.

"This war is causing, in my opinion, terrible suffering to the Yemeni people," while also harming Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, Guterres told CNN.

"It's in the interests of everybody to stop this war." 

Agencies contributed to this report.