US, UK thank Russia for evacuation of their citizens from Yemen
The British Foreign Office, as well as the US Secretary of State, have thanked Moscow for the evacuation of their citizens from war-torn Yemen, as Russian planes and ships take hundreds of Russian and foreign nationals from the conflict zone.
In a phone conversation with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State John Kerry “expressed gratitude for assistance in evacuation of American citizens” from Yemen, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday.
A spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office told RT on Monday that, “we can confirm that six British nationals left Yemen at the weekend on a Russian Navy vessel. We thank the Russian authorities for their assistance.”
Over 300 people were evacuated from the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in two Russian flights on Sunday, and another 300 people were earlier taken from the port of Aden to Djibouti by a Russian vessel. According to the Russian Embassy in Djibouti, 18 US citizens and six UK citizens, including children and toddlers, were aboard the ship.
— Alexander Yakovenko (@Amb_Yakovenko) April 13, 2015
“We feel like we’re left behind. No support. I called every Embassy – all the embassies in Riyadh, in Cairo, in Djibouti – to help me and my family, but they always apologize. They said “help is coming” – but it never came,” an American citizen evacuated on a Russian plane told RT’s Paula Slier. “People now think that Yemeni Americans are like second-class Americans.”
An American citizen currently stranded in Yemen, Summer Nasser, told RT on Monday that “I really want to appreciate the Russian government, because yesterday I got a call from the Russian Ambassador in the capital of Yemen. He was attempting to rescue American citizens. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the flight at the short notice.”
The US has stated that there are “no government-sponsored plans” to evacuate US citizens from Yemen. “For more than 15 years the State Department has been advising US citizens to defer travel to Yemen, and we’ve been advising those US citizens who are in Yemen to depart,” answered spokesman Jeff Rathke on the question of “the US Government’s inaction in evacuating US citizens from Yemen”.
“[There are] bombings every other day, a few bombings a day. So, it’s very, very scary right now,” Arwa Al-Iraini , another American, currently stranded in Yemen, described the situation in the country to RT. “Basically, we’re just sitting here and waiting. Nobody will help us evacuate. ”
Shamsan Mansoob from Michigan, who is stuck in central Yemen, told RT on Sunday that there was no access to the internet, and no transportation that could help people flee the country, adding that “there is no news that we can follow”.
According to a recent Red Cross report, over 1,000 people have died in the fighting between the Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled the country. The Saudi-led airstrikes, backed by the US, commenced at the end of March, in order to counteract anti-government Shia rebels.