Russia a partner in the murder of Yemenis says rights group
The Yemeni Organization for Rights and Freedoms, known as HOOD, issued a statement urging the international community “to help the Yemeni people to restore their right to elect who rules them and how, and to spare the Yemeni people the ordeal and destruction of war.”
Through six months of protests, millions of Yemenis have taken to the streets to demand an end to the dictatorship of Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh. Attacks by security forces on the protest squares throughout the country have killed hundreds and wounded thousands.
As the impoverished nation teeters on economic collapse, continuing arms sales and shipments may lead the nation to a “catastrophic internal war,” HOOD warned.
In the statement, HOOD “calls for all countries of the world to stop exporting arms to Yemen, and condemns in particular the Russian continuous provision of arms and military equipment to the Republican Guards which makes Russia a war partner in the killing of the Yemeni people and the destruction of its infrastructure.”
The Republican Guard, headed by Saleh’s son Ahmed, contains the counter-terror unit and is responsible for many of the civilian deaths since the youth revolution began. Ahmed Saleh has become the de facto ruler of Yemen while his father recovers in Saudi Arabia from injuries sustained in a bombing. However, western nations have urged Vice President Mansour Hadi to accept presidential authority.
Russia earlier thwarted efforts in the UN Security Council to issue a statement condemning the state’s attacks on unarmed protesters.
Russia is Yemen’s largest bilateral creditor, with Yemen’s debt exceeding one billion dollars, incurred primarily from purchases of military hardware including an estimated 18 MIG war planes.
Russia accounted for nearly 59 percent of all major weapons deliveries to Yemen during 2004-2008, followed by Ukraine at 25 percent, Italy at 10 percent, Australia’s five percent, and the United States at less than one percent, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).