Key government officials in the Russian Federation have commented on last night’s US-UK strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. These comments provide key insight into how the Russian Federation sees an opportunity to exploit the destabilization in the region. First are the comments made by the Russian Security Council and former President Medvedev. He said:
“This night, the Americans opened a new front against the Houthis in Yemen, also diverting attention from their problematic Kyiv charges.”
The statement goes on to lambast the Ukrainian government, as does a New York Times article from yesterday indicating that the US Department of Defense did not monitor the influx of thousands of weapons and millions of dollars worth of other military aid to Ukraine. However, the designation of the strikes in Yemen as a second front demonstrates the fears that President Zelensky has been expressing openly: the Israel War will distract the United States from supporting his current war with the Russian Federation.
The second comment to explore is from Russian Foreign Intelligence Service colonel Bezrukov who said:
“We are already an exporter of security and a link between East and West. This big logistics goes through us. And God forbid, if the south of the continent catches fire, if in fact there will be, and most likely it will be, there will be destabilization of the route that connects Europe and China. When the main world flow goes through the straits, if one or two countries along the way catch fire, there will be a situation in which somewhere on the shore of Yemen there will be a couple of guys with javelins and collecting tribute from every gas carrier that passes. And Europe now lives only on imported gas. They will not shoot at this gas carrier, they will take 10 million dollars from those companies that insure them. And gas prices will be appropriate. And then everyone will remember about the Northern Sea Route, where you can’t lie on an ice floe for long with a javelin. Here we also have certain advantages.”
These comments further demonstrate how the Russian Federation seeks to benefit from the situation in the Red Sea. Through its alliance with Iran, the Straits of Hormuz can be effectively closed, or at the very least, inhibited, at a time of their choosing. However, the situation with the Houthis and the closing of oil routes on the other side of the Arabian Peninsula further encourages oil shipping to flow through the Northern Sea Route. Thawing polar ice has now made that route tenable, as demonstrated by the explosion of shipping to Chinese ports in 2023.