Russia dispatches planes to evacuate hundreds of its citizens from Yemen

Russia has sent two planes to evacuate hundreds of its citizens from conflict-torn Yemen.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich says the passenger jets have landed in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. He said the planes are expected to carry around 300 Russian citizens to Moscow later Thursday.

Yemen has been engulfed by fighting between Saudi-backed government forces and the Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. On Thursday, the rebels and their allies captured the presidential palace in the strategic port of Aden, dealing a major blow to the Saudi-led coalition staging airstrikes to halt the advance of the rebels.

Lukashevich called for quick talks to negotiate a truce, adding that "we can't allow ... the situation in Yemen to evolve into an open conflict between the Arabs and Iran."