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13 Jan, 2024 08:07

US-UK strikes on Yemen 'disproportionate' – Moscow

Bombing a country a ‘thousand miles from one’s own borders’ is not consistent with the right to self-defense, Russia’s envoy to the UN said
US-UK strikes on Yemen 'disproportionate' – Moscow

Strikes by the United States and its allies on Yemen are a violation of the UN Charter, and they can’t be justified, Moscow's envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, told a Security Council meeting on Friday.

Moscow convened an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting after the US and UK carried out attacks against alleged Houthi military positions in Yemen in the early hours of Friday without authorization from the UN body.

Washington said it was responding to the group targeting shipping routes in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. US Central Command confirmed this morning that the US launched an additional strike on Saturday morning, describing it as targeting a Houthi radar site in Yemen. 

The Houthis targeted ships that they claimed were linked to Israel in response to the three-month siege of Gaza.

“It is one thing to protect commercial shipping, attacks on which are unacceptable, but it is completely different to disproportionately and illegally bomb another state,” the Russian diplomat said, adding that the coalition’s aggressive actions are contrary to Article 2 of the UN Charter.

Vassily Nebenzia remarked that “no legitimate mandate” exists for bombing Yemen, and it is even more ridiculous to talk about the right to self-defense “a thousand miles from one’s own borders.” He added that Article 51 of the UN Charter, referenced by his “Western colleagues,” cannot be applied to cases involving commercial vessels. The diplomat said that the right of self-defense is not invoked to ensure freedom of navigation.

“Washington is not going to stop there,” Nebenzya said. His comments come as Joe Biden said on Friday to a group of journalists the US would not let up in its response to the Houthis “if they continue this outrageous behavior.”

According to the diplomat, the US will assess the threats and plan their response “without the slightest regard for international law.” As a result of the move, “the situation in the already burning Middle East” will deteriorate even more, he added.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the strikes were designed “to disrupt and degrade the Houthis’ ability to continue the reckless attacks against vessels and commercial shipping.” British Ambassador Susan Woodward argued that they “took limited, necessary, and proportionate action in self-defense.”

US President Joe Biden is also facing criticism from some lawmakers that he violated the constitution by not asking for permission from Congress for the military operation. Overall, the West appears to be split over the joint attack on Yemen, with only Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Korea backing the sorties.

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