Nigeria urges Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine, advises diplomatic solution to conflict


Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, met with envoys of the G7 countries in Abuja, Friday, as he conveyed Nigeria’s desire for peace to be pursued by all parties to the conflict in Ukraine following the country’s invasion by Russia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama

During the meeting, Nigeria called on the Russian government to withdraw its troops in Ukraine, urging President Vladimir Putin to instead adopt diplomacy instead of aggression in resolving the conflict.

The call was made by the Onyeama, who expressed worries over the Russian-Ukraine conflict, called for an embrace of peace by both parties.

Further, he said ‘Nigeria does not condone the approach of aggression by Russia; even as he called on the Russian government to pull back its troops from Ukraine.’

“Peace and diplomacy to be prioritised by both sides. We support every effort being made to stop the aggression and Russian troops to return to Russia,” the minister said.

Nigeria, had earlier Thursday, disclosed plans for a special flight operation to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine in view of the escalating tension between that country and Russia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama in an exclusive interview with NTA said the Nigerian embassy in Kiev has been contacted to arrange those wishing to the return home from other areas including Donestk and Luhensk.

The minister assured Nigerians that the ministry is following the event since beginning and promised to do everything for the safety of Nigerians in Ukraine, particularly students.

The development, however, comes after the Ukraine Government closed civil aviation operations as the country’s major airport in Kiev was the target of Russian missile attacks, Thursday.

 “The 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,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the position of Nigeria is in line with the earlier statement issued by the South African Government which expressed concern over the ongoing tensions in the Ukraine and Russia border, a situation, the country warned  if allowed to further deteriorate, ‘could have regional and global ramifications.’

A statement by the southern African nation, Thursday, urged ‘all parties to devote increased efforts to diplomacy and to find a solution that will help de-escalate tensions and avert armed conflict.’

Reacting to the latest full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor said: “All parties have much to gain from a negotiated outcome and much to lose from an unnecessary and violent conflict.”

The country, therefore, called on the UN Security Council to ‘play a central role in the search for peace.’

“The UNSC is the body given the mandate for maintenance of international peace and security and it must exercise its role fully. As South Africa, we believe all the issues of concern to any of the parties must be addressed in inclusive talks led by the UNSC.

“The world does not need another war as that will result in death and destruction, hence our call for enhanced diplomacy,” Pandor said.