Middle East

Russia temporarily shuts, evacuates Yemen embassy

Russia removed all of its diplomatic personnel from Yemen and has temporarily shut its embassy there, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Russia’s ambassador to Yemen and other diplomats would continue to fulfill their duties from Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement carried by Russian state media.

The decision to temporarily close the embassy, located in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, was attributed to the deteriorating security situation in the country.

“Considering the situation in Sanaa, a decision has been taken to temporarily suspend Russia’s diplomatic presence in Yemen. All employees of the Russian embassy have left the country,” Zakharova was quoted by news agencies as saying.

Tensions rise after killing of ex-president

The impoverished country has been the site of a power struggle between Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels. The Iran-backed rebels have controlled Sanaa since late 2014; a Saudi-led military coalition has been bombing the rebels since 2015.

The war has killed over 8,750 people, displaced 3 million others and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

Tensions in the region have escalated since the Houthis killed former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who once supported the rebels, last week, after he switched allegiances to the Saudi-led coalition.

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