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Russia & China have secured agreement with Houthis to protect their vessels.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Bloomberg on March 21, 2024, the Houthi group has assured China and Russia that their naval vessels will be granted safe passage through the strategically critical maritime zones of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Serguei Lavrov and Qin Gang during a meeting in Uzbekistan. (Picture source: Russian MoD)

The Red Sea has been a focal point of escalating tensions and conflict since October 2023, primarily due to the actions of the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen. The crisis unfolded with the Houthis launching missile and armed drone attacks against Israel on October 19, 2023, as part of their demand for an end to the invasion of the Gaza Strip.

This marked the beginning of what has been referred to as the Red Sea crisis, linking it to broader regional conflicts including the Israel–Hamas war, the Iran–Israel proxy conflict, and the ongoing Yemeni Crisis. The Houthis targeted merchant and naval vessels in the Red Sea, viewing any ship linked to Israel, the U.S., or Britain as legitimate targets, though attacks have been indiscriminate, affecting many nations. Over 60 attacks on vessels were recorded from October 2023 to March 2024, forcing hundreds of commercial vessels to reroute, significantly impacting global shipping and trade routes​​​​.

Key incidents include the capture of the Galaxy Leader on November 19, 2023, by the Houthis, who boarded the ship via helicopter and sailed it to Hodeidah, Yemen. The fate of its 25-member crew, comprising individuals from multiple countries, remains unknown.

Other significant attacks include UAV strikes, attempted hijacks, and missile strikes on a variety of commercial vessels throughout November and December 2023. These incidents have caused varying degrees of damage and have involved defensive actions by naval forces, including the USS Mason and the French Navy frigate Languedoc​​.

The Houthi attacks have raised concerns over the security of one of the most vital maritime routes for global commerce, with significant economic implications. The attacks prompted a shift in shipping routes, with many companies opting to avoid the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, diverting around South Africa instead.

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