GENEVA, April 25. /TASS/. Russia has advised against any storming of Al Hudaydah, Yemen’s largest port city which is receiving humanitarian assistance, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told a donor conference on Tuesday.
"Alarming rumors are mounting that there are preparations underway to storm Al Hudaydah and for a further offensive against Sana’a. This should be prevented. The scale of this awful Yemenite tragedy will significantly increase," Gatilov said.
The Russian diplomat stressed that the blockade of Al Hudaydah is not linked to UN Security Council’s Resolution 2216 and cannot be justified by it. He also called for resuming normal operations of Sana’a airport for delivering humanitarian aid to local citizens.
Gatilov also stressed the need to end the conflict in Yemen so as to ease the humanitarian situation. "Like most other countries, we are firmly convinced that the crisis in Yemen should be solved chiefly by peaceful means, through national dialogue taking into consideration the interests of all of the country’s key political forces," he said.
“Russia is in close contact with all major warring sides in Yemen. We are constantly in talks with our partners in the Persian Gulf countries," the envoy said. "We will continue these efforts," he maintained, adding that only terrorists who control vast territories in the country benefit from the war.
The confrontation between the Yemeni government forces and the Houthis flared up in August 2014. The hostilities erupted when Saudi Arabia launched its air campaign in March 2015. The coalition forces have repeatedly attacked settlements seized by the Houthis, including Sana’a. The conflict brought the country to the brink of the world’s worst humanitarian disaster and famine, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien told the Council. According to the UN, two-thirds of the Yemenite population, or some 19 million people, require humanitarian assistance, and more than 7 million people are starving.
Moscow was forced to summon consultations by the UN Security Council on March 17 on the situation in Yemen during which the Russian delegation warned about grave humanitarian consequences any storming of Al Hudaydah by the coalition forces would produce.
The coalition’s headquarters believes that the Al Hudaydah port city remains a major source of illegal weapons and ammunition for rebels who allegedly receive support from Iran. Saudi General Ahmad Asiri said that if the UN refused to send observers, Al Hudaydah could become the next military target.