Saudis Claim They Prevented Former Yemeni President Leaving Country

Russian Plane Delivered Aid, Now Stuck in Sanaa

Saudi warplanes imposing an aerial blockade on Yemen stopped a Russian airplane which brought humanitarian aid into the capital city of Sanaa from leaving the country today, saying they prevented former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh from leaving the country on the flight.

There was no confirmation from the Russians or from Saleh that he was on the plane, but he apparently visited the Russian embassy in Sanaa on Thursday, a visit for which he had to get permission from the Saudi warplanes constantly bombarding the city.

Convinced Saleh was on the Russian plane, the Saudis prevented it from leaving, demanding that the plane agree to stop off in southern Saudi Arabia for an “inspection.” The plane refused, which Saudis are taking as “proof” Saleh was abroad.

Saleh had previously said the visit to the embassy was to offer condolences for the downed Russian airliner in the Sinai Peninsula. The fate of the Russian cargo plane in Sanaa remains unknown, but it appears to be stranded there for the time being.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of