Russia withdraws diplomats from Yemen's Sanaa

Tue 12 December 2017 18:40 GMT | 18:40 Local Time

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Russia has evacuated its nationals and embassy staff from Sanaa, Yemen’s Houthi-held capital, in coordination with a Saudi-led Arab coalition, APA reports quoting AA.

On Tuesday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted an unnamed coalition source as saying that coalition officials in Sanaa had received a Russian request to assist in the evacuation of Russian nationals and embassy staff from Sanaa’s international airport.

The source went on to tell the SPA that a Russian aircraft had departed the city shortly afterward with most of the Russian embassy staff on board.

The source did not provide any addition details, including the time of the reported departure.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswomen Maria Zakharova appeared to confirm the report later Tuesday, saying Moscow had "temporarily" suspended its diplomatic presence in Yemen.

"Taking into account the situation in Sanaa, a decision was made to temporarily suspend the Russian diplomatic presence in Yemen," Zakharova was quoted as saying by Russia's official TASS news agency.

Zakharova said all Russian embassy employees had departed the country.

According to the spokeswoman, Russian Ambassador to Yemen Vladimir Dedushkin, along with several members of his staff, will continue to perform their diplomatic duties from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Yemen has remained dogged by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa, which remains under Houthi control.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains and shoring up Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.

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