Russian diplomatic staff leave Yemen’s Sanaa

Russia has suspended its diplomatic presence in Yemen, and all its staff have left the country due to the situation in the capital Sanaa, according to official Russian sources.

Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Maria Zakharova, the country’s foreign ministry spokesperson, as making the announcement on Tuesday.

The Russian ambassador to Yemen and some diplomatic staff will be working temporarily out of Riyadh in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported citing the foreign ministry.

The Russian withdrawal comes as a Saudi-led military coalition continues a blockade of Yemen, which began in October after it shut down the country’s borders in response to a missile fired by rebels that struck near the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in neighbouring Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to push back the Houthi rebels, who are said to be backed by Iran, and restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.