‘Prioritise diplomacy’ — FG asks Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine


The Nigerian government has asked Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and embrace diplomatic measures to address the current crisis involving both countries.


Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, said this on Friday after a meeting with the envoys of the G7 countries in Nigeria.


Months of tensions between Russia and Ukraine took another dimension on Thursday with airstrikes recorded in Ukraine.


As of Friday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at least 137 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians had been killed since the Russian invasion began.


In a televised address on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian military to seize power in their country.


Speaking on the development after the meeting, Onyeama said the Nigerian government has advised the adoption of peacebuilding initiatives to resolve the conflict.


“Peace and diplomacy to be prioritised by both sides,” NAN quoted him as saying.


 “We support every effort being made to stop the aggression and Russian troops to return to Russia.”


Also speaking to journalists after the meeting which held behind closed doors, Birgitt Ory, German ambassador to Nigeria who also chairs the G7 group, commended the African Union (AU) for condemning the invasion.


The German ambassador commended Nigeria for taking a position, adding that the federal government’s stance is an important voice the world needs to hear.


Ory added that there would be resolutions taken by the United Nations Security Council, as well as the General Assembly, on the invasion.


In attendance at the meeting were Mary Beth Leonard, United States ambassador to Nigeria; Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria; Samuela Isopi, head of the European Union delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as representatives of the embassies of Japan and Canada.

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