News March 08, 2022 at 08:00 am

Nigerian govt bans citizens from traveling to Ukraine to fight

Francis Akhalbey | Content Manager

Francis Akhalbey March 08, 2022 at 08:00 am

March 08, 2022 at 08:00 am | News

Nigeria said it won't permit citizens to travel to Ukraine to fight -- Photo Credit: AP/Vladim Ghirda

The government of Nigeria has said it won’t permit its citizens to travel to Ukraine to fight on behalf of the European nation as it fends off Russia’s invasion. The announcement comes after recent reports of an alleged recruitment campaign encouraging non-Ukrainian volunteers to travel to the country to take up arms, BBC reported.

And though the West African nation’s foreign ministry said the Ukrainian embassy refuted the allegation, it said the embassy “confirmed that a number Nigerians had approached the Embassy indicating their willingness to fight on the side of Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.”

The embassy also denied charging $1,000 (£800) as air ticket and visa fees for any Nigerian who is willing to travel to Ukraine to fight.

“Nigeria discourages the use of mercenaries anywhere in the world and will not tolerate the recruitment, in Nigeria, of Nigerians as mercenaries to fight in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world,” a spokesperson from the ministry said.

The announcement also comes after authorities in Senegal cautioned citizens from volunteering to travel to Ukraine to help the country fight against Russia. It also ordered the Ukrainian ambassador to delete a Facebook post that encouraged Senegalese people to travel to Ukraine to fight.

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24 with explosions heard across the country. Despite international condemnation, Russian troops attacked Ukraine on multiple fronts from Belarus, Russia and Crimea in what experts said could be the start of war in Europe over Russia’s demands for an end to NATO’s eastward expansion.

For a long time, there had been tensions between Russia and Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, but the situation started getting worse in early 2021 when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged U.S. President Joe Biden to let Ukraine join NATO. Russia didn’t like this, and started sending troops near its Ukraine border for “training exercises” in spring last year and later increased it.

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