Kremlin condemns ‘illegal’ US-UK attacks in Yemen
The overnight airstrikes conducted by the US and the UK against targets in Yemen were illegal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday.
The attacks on dozens of targets in Yemen were conducted by the US and the UK with support the Netherlands, Australia, Bahrain and Canada, according to the US Central Command. Washington claimed the strikes were “defensive” in nature and were aimed at the de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East.
“We condemn them,” Peskov said when asked about the action during a media briefing. “The [UN Security Council] resolution gives no right for strikes, and consequently they are illegitimate under international law.”
The Russian presidential spokesman was referring to the January 10 UN document that called on the Houthi movement to cease attacks on merchant vessels. The Western strikes on several locations in Yemen reportedly targeted military assets of the militant group.
Earlier in the day Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the Russian position. She said that a concern which Moscow has had, that US activities at the UN Security Council “were just a pretext for further escalation of the situation in the region,” have been confirmed by the attacks.
“A massive military escalation in the area of the Red Sea may nullify all positive trends which have emerged recently in the Yemen reconciliation process, and trigger destabilization of the entire Middle East,” she warned.
Russia was among the four members of the Security Council, alongside Algeria, China, and Mozambique, who abstained during Wednesday’s vote on Resolution 2722.
Zakharova stated that the US has a record of manipulating UN decisions in attempts to justify military adventures, citing as examples the 2011 NATO bombing of Libya and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
“The peoples of those nations and the entire region still feel the consequences of Washington’s illegal military interventions and its sidekicks,” the diplomat said. Moscow perceives the strikes as a threat to global peace, and thus a matter that the Security Council must address.
The Houthis started targeting civilian traffic passing through the Red Sea in an attempt to harm Israeli commerce. The action was retaliation for the siege of Gaza, which has been underway for over three months and has reportedly claimed over 20,000 lives in the Palestinian enclave.
Israel claims that its goal is to eliminate Hamas, the militant group responsible for a deadly incursion in early October, but critics accuse it of seeking to ethnically cleanse Gaza.
Russia has criticized Hamas for its terrorist attack and Israel for the way it is conducting its operation in Gaza. Moscow has also accused the US of derailing international attempts to secure a ceasefire.
The Houthis’ targeting of civilian ships is likewise “highly wrong,” Peskov said.