Russian naval ship evacuates over 300 people stranded in Yemen

People waiting to be evacuated at Sanaa International Airport, Yemen, April 6, 2015 (Reuters / Khaled Abdullah)
The Russian Navy vessel Priazovye has helped to evacuate 308 people from war-torn Yemen. The Russian Defense Ministry stated citizens from 19 countries had been rescued, including Russian, Ukrainian, US and Yemini nationals.

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The Russian warship departed the southern Yemeni port of Aden on Sunday night and is due to arrive in Djibouti, on the east coast of Africa on Monday morning.

“Among those evacuated from the zone of hostilities in the Aden area, were citizens of 19 countries, including 45 Russian nationals,” Igor Konashenkov, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

There were also a number of foreign citizens aboard the Priazovye, including 18 Americans, 14 Ukrainians, nine Belorusians, five UK citizens, as well as 159 Yemeni nationals.

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The Russian warship had been based in the Gulf of Aden to help carry out anti-piracy missions, before it was sent towards Yemen to aid the evacuation. It follows weeks of Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi anti-government rebels.

This is not the first Russian-led evacuation in Yemen. Earlier in April, Moscow organized flights and ship to help evacuate its own citizens, as well as a number of foreigners, from the conflict area. So far, Russian aircraft have made five rescue missions into Yemen to airlift people caught in the war-zone to safety.

At least eight other countries, including China, India and Pakistan, have also been actively working on evacuating people from Yemen, both by sea and by air.

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Meanwhile, the US has been criticized for failing to evacuate its own citizens from Yemen, where up to 4,000 American nationals are believed to be stranded.

US citizens currently in Yemen have lashed out against Washington for failing to act. “Nobody will help us evacuate. The reply [of the US government] was an automated message that they do not have any evacuation plans. Basically we are left on our own,” Arwa Al-Iraine, a US citizen trapped in Yemen told RT.

Three Arab and Muslim human rights groups filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, which includes dozens of cases of American citizens who have been unable to leave Yemen.

READ MORE: Russian citizens evacuated from Yemen

Towards the end of March, Saudi Arabia, along with several other Arab states, including Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, launched airstrikes targeting Shia Houthi rebels, who had seized the Yemeni capital and large areas in the west of the country.

The Saudi-led coalition has taken over Yemen’s airfields and seaports, and bombed the Houthi stronghold of Saada in the north, the capital Sanaa and the port city of Aden in the south.

According to some of the latest reports, up to 1,042 people have died in the fighting, the International Federation of the Red Cross reported on Thursday.