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Saudi Arabia guarantees to let Russian planes through to Yemen — Russian Foreign Ministry

April 02, 2015, 12:49 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Two Russian planes will arrive in Sanaa on April 2

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Destroyed houses after Saudi airstrikes in Yemen

Destroyed houses after Saudi airstrikes in Yemen

© AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File

MOSCOW, April 2. /TASS/. Saudi Arabia has guaranteed that it will let through to Yemen’s Sanaa two Russian planes for evacuation of Russian nationals from the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The foreign ministry said that evacuation of 150 Russian citizens, including embassy staff, was planned for April 1. However, despite Saudi Arabia’s guarantees to allow Russian planes through to Sanaa, Saudi air force blocked their entry to Yemen’s airspace.

"As a result of active diplomatic efforts, military and political authorities of the Kingdom [Saudi Arabia] gave guarantees that Russian planes flying to Sanaa will have no difficulties in fulfilling their humanitarian tasks. Today, on April 2, two Russian planes will arrive in Sanaa. We expect the Saudi side to fulfill its guarantees," the foreign ministry said. According to a military-diplomatic source, at least three aircraft of Russia’s Defence Ministry will help evacuate Russian citizens.

"The evacuation effort involves military and transport aircraft of Russia’s Air Force. At least three aircraft will be used," the source said, adding that one of the planes was at the airfield in Cairo this morning.

The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the evacuation of civilians from Yemen started on March 31. Then, a Russian ship evacuated the staff of the consulate general in Aden, along with 20 Russian nationals living in the country and citizens of other countries who wanted to leave Yemen, to Djibouti.

"Among them [evacuated civilians] are Ukrainians, Belarusians, Uzbeks, and also Egyptians, Jordanians and Libyans," the foreign ministry said. "Among the evacuated civilians are 10 children," the ministry added.

Earlier today, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Consulate General in Aden had suspended operations. "Violent fighting continues in the city. According to media reports, our consulate general, along with other empty buildings, was looted by marauders," the foreign ministry said.

On March 31, the United Nations evacuated staff from the war-torn Yemen. Some countries, including Germany, the United States, Turkey and Japan, announced that their embassies would suspend work in the Arab country.

Last week, the Saudi Air Force supported by Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates bombed the positions of Shia rebels / supporters of the Ansar Alllah group/ in the territory of Yemen.

Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and Sudan also joined the Saudi-led military operation with an aim to return Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and his government to power.

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