Russia calls UNSC session on Yemen crisis amid Saudi-led airstrikes

Reuters / Mike Segar

Reuters / Mike Segar

As fighting in Yemen intensifies Russia has called up an emergency UN Security Council session to put on pause Saudi-led coalition airstrikes for humanitarian purposes in an effort to quell the violence that is impacting civilians.

Russia insists it is
necessary for the international community to discuss the
establishment of regular and mandatory “humanitarian
in the ongoing coalition air strikes on Yemen,
Russian UN mission’s spokesman Aleksey Zaytsev told

An extraordinary meeting is scheduled for Saturday, at 3pm GMT at
the UN headquarters in NYC.

A coalition of Arab
states, led by Saudi Arabia,
has been engaging Houthi
militias from the air for over a week now, after the Yemeni
President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was forced to flee the country
and asked for an international intervention to reinstate his

Moscow is calling for a diplomatic solution to the conflict
emphasizing that foreign military intervention would only lead to
more civilian deaths. On Friday, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister
Mikhail Bogdanov met with the newly appointed Saudi ambassador,
conveying the “necessity of a ceasefire” to create
favorable conditions for a peaceful national dialogue.

Russia has already taken steps to evacuate all of its personnel
from its Yemeni consulate, which was damaged in the conflict. It
has also taken an active role evacuating Russian nationals and
other civilians from the country.

On Thursday Russia proposed amendments to a UN Security Council
draft resolution on Yemen. The world security body “should
speak in a principled manner for ending any violence…in the Yemen
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding
that a draft resolution on the crisis has already been submitted
to the UNSC.

Echoing Lavrov’s words, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr
Lukashevich also called on immediate cessation of hostilities,
adding that Russia will continue active diplomatic efforts in
dealing with all Yemeni factions and Middle Eastern partners in
order to restart political process. Lukashevich also called on
the UN special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, to play a bigger
role in the settlement of the crisis.

Meanwhile on the ground on Friday, after coalition bombardment
campaign Houthi militias left the presidential palace in Aden,
after occupying it a day earlier. “The Houthi militia and
their allies withdrew before dawn from the Al-Maashiq
said the official in Aden.

READ MORE: Al-Qaeda militants capture military
base in southeast Yemen

The airstrike also reportedly destroyed Houthi “military
equipment and missiles”
on Myun island on Bab al-Mandab
Strait. At the same time Saudi-led coalition airdropped weapons
to President Hadi supporters in Aden, coalition spokesman General
Ahmed Assiri said.

“We should not be in a rush,” he said as campaign
entered its ninth day. “The campaign is achieving its goals,
and you can see that every day.”

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia claimed that there that there were no
“formal” troops on the ground in Yemen. However, the
“issue of using ground troops is always something that is on
the table,”
Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said at an event
in Washington.

The UN estimates that over 500 people, many civilians, have been
killed in Yemen over the past two weeks. Though the allied Air
Force target mostly military facilities, weapon depots and
infrastructure, their strikes still befell on civilians. Tens of
thousands have fled the country after the outbreak of violence.

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