The Federal Government has announced it invited the Russian and Ukrainian Ambassadors to Nigeria over the conflict in a bid to sue for peace and also to discuss plans to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Ukraine.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in a statement on Friday evening after the meeting, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
The Nigerian Government expressed worries over the invasion of a fellow UN member with the Russian delegate expressing that only military installations would be targeted in Ukraine.
What the Minister is saying
The Minister said the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexei Shebarshin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Kirdoda Valerii were summoned over the conflict and the plans to evacuate Nigerians living there.
The FG also expressed its view to the Russians stating that it does not support the invasion of a fellow United Nations member that is recognized by Nigeria and urged for diplomacy and dialogue.
“This is really the position of the government and also, that we have 5,600 Nigerians in Ukraine and we are very concerned about what we are hearing and what we are seeing regarding missiles and bombs about the safety of Nigerian citizens there and also that we would like to be able to evacuate them.
“He said that this would be communicated to his headquarters and that obviously, they consider Nigeria a friendly country.
“The Russian envoy also said that they would do nothing to harm Nigerians and assured me that their action is targeted at military installations and that they are not about to start attacking civilian areas and so forth,” the minister said.
Onyeama said Nigeria sympathised with Ukraine regarding its situation as a country and as a people, in view of the heavy bombardment which has led to the loss of lives, adding that Nigeria has over 5000 students in the country, and is concerned about their safety.
“I told the Ukrainian envoy that we want the cooperation of the Government of Ukraine to do whatever is possible to ensure their safety and security and to also seek advice as to how the evacuation can be facilitated,” Onyeama said.
The Ukrainian ambassador said its government does not differentiate between people on the basis of their nationality and that is the best effort to protect everybody.
“Currently, the evacuation of Nigerian students is not possible because it is not safe to fly on the sky of Ukraine.
“As soon as it is safe to fly in the sky of Ukraine, we will join the Embassy of Nigeria in Ukraine and jointly with the Nigerian Government, we will arrange for the evacuation of Nigerian students,” Valerii said.
Meanwhile, the Russian Ambassador warned that they would possibly also see some airports as military targets, citing that there would be risks involved with travelling through road, adding that “Russia was mindful of the civilians from foreign countries and that they would take all the necessary measures to ensure their security.”