The Nigerian government on Thursday said it has “received with surprise reports of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.”
The West African country, however, did not condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine or call for the cessation of hostilities. Many countries, including the U.S. and its allies have condemned the invasion and imposed sanctions on Russia.
Nigeria’s position was contained in a press release from the ministry of foreign affairs shared on Twitter.
“The ministry of foreign affairs has been reassured by the Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine of the safety of Nigerians in that country and measures being undertaken to keep them safe and facilitate the evacuation of those who wish to leave,” Francisca Omayuli, the ministry’s spokesperson, said.
“The federal government wishes to assure the families with loved ones in Ukraine that as soon as the airports in the country are opened. It would assist in facilitating the evacuation of Nigerians who are willing to leave.”
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that both civilian and military airports in Ukraine have been bombed by Russia which sought to destroy Ukraine’s air capabilities. All flights in and out of Ukraine were, therefore, cancelled.
Attack only on military formations!
The Nigerian government also said it has confirmed that military action by Russia has been “confined to military installations” in Ukraine.
Nigeria’s stance that Russia’s attacks are targeting only military installations in Ukraine is similar to the stance of the Kremlin on the matter. However, the BBC showed videos of residential buildings in Ukraine that have been bombed by Russian forces although the casualty from the war is yet to be stated.
Russia began attacking Ukraine Thursday morning, a day after it recognised two breakaway regions in the east of the country.
The Nigerian government’s position that it was willing to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine occurs hours after the House of Representatives called on the government to do so. The lawmakers also tasked some of their members to work with the government and a private airline, Air Peace, to ensure the evacuation is successful.
PREMIUM TIMES reported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday. This newspaper also reported that Nigerian students called for help amidst the escalating war between Russia and Ukraine. There are over 4,000 Nigerian students in Ukraine.
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