Russia, Ukraine and a Nigerian gesture

Chinedu Anayo

Chinedu Anayo

It is really sad and disappointing. Russia has invaded Ukraine. A country deliberately invaded a neighboring in country in 2022. With all the defense mechanisms set in place to either prevent or end this ugly incident, it still happened.

Russia wishes to ‘erase’ Ukraine, its history and its people, the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has said, as the Kremlin, in the face of international isolation, claimed to have captured its first large city amid continued heavy battling. A spokesperson for Russia’s defense ministry said its forces had taken control of an important city, Kherson on the Black Sea.

Why did it happen?

Putin’s arguments are false or irrational. He claimed his goal was to protect people subjected to genocide and aim for the “demilitarisation and de-Nazification” of Ukraine. There has been no genocide in Ukraine: it is a vibrant democracy, led by a president who is Jewish.

“How could I be a Nazi?” said Volodymr Zelensky, who likened Russia’s onslaught to Nazi Germany’s invasion in World War 2.

Let’s ask Putin, how can a Jew be a Nazi? Wouldn’t that be inappropriate? Obviously, there’s more to this invasion that meets the eye.

However, one would be stupefied that after these comments from Putin, these so-called International Organizations made for conflict resolution were wisecracking. The Super-power of the world, the United States, were busy dropping counter opinions to threats of ‘war’. The European leaders were busy stating the list of sanctions after a war was declared. Look at the insolence. What real good have sanctions done? Sanctions are just instruments of deterrence. But in this case, the war has already begun, hence, sanctions would be inconclusive.

How did it happen?

By air, land, and sea, Russia launched a devastating attack on Ukraine, a European democracy of about 44 million people, and its forces are at the outer parts of the capital, Kyiv.

Whether we say it or not, Putin has breached European peace and World peace. He has jeopardized the world’s entire system or framework. This is not how the world works.

Russia hit airports and military headquarters first, near cities across Ukraine, then tanks and troops rolled into Ukraine from the north, east and its ally Belarus.

What next?

These are very terrifying moments for the Ukrainians, horrifying for the rest of the continent and giddy for the world at large, witnessing a major power invading a European neighbour for the first time since World War 2.

Many have died already in what I would highlight as “Semi world war”, both civilians and soldiers. And for Europe’s leaders, this invasion has brought some of the darkest hours since the 1940s (World war era).

NATO has allegedly put warplanes on alert, but the Western alliance has made successfully dispatched about 40,000 combat troops to Ukraine. Some other countries have offered variant aids to Ukraine; weapons and field hospitals.

To President Putin and other world leaders, think about the mental health of this people, the trauma and most importantly the lives of little children in Ukraine, both citizens and foreigners. The West is targeting Russia’s economy, financial institutions and individuals. But I don’t think these measures are enough.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has urged its allies to stop buying Russian oil and gas. The whole international community was called to disconnect Russia’s banking system from the international Swift payment system. The US, EU, UK and Canada kicked Russia out of the system. Nevertheless that would badly affect the US, Canada and European economies. Maybe selfishness is a major hesitation for others.

Putin is predictable.

Last year, a long piece describing Russians and Ukrainians as “one” was written by Putin, where he described the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 as the “disintegration of historical Russia”. So, Ukraine has been in the sights of Russia. Putin has also argued that if Ukraine joined Nato, the alliance might try to recapture Crimea.

It has always been evident that Putin would do anything outrageous to defend his claims. But Russia is not only focused on Ukraine. It demands that NATO return to its pre-1997 territories. Profoundly, this war isn’t just Ukraines’. Putin wants NATO to remove its forces and military infrastructure from member states that joined the alliance from 1997: That means Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Baltics.

Another alternative yet to be quashed.

Sources say negotiations are ongoing between Russian delegates and Ukrainian delegates although, initially Putin was persistent and said talks can only be held on the condition that Kyiv agrees to surrender and disarm, and that is highly unlikely.

The Nigerian Gesture.

The belated evacuation of Nigerians from Ukraine should be consciously investigated. Students and other Nigerians in Ukraine were highly disappointed by the Government of Nigeria for letting them down. About 12 countries, including the U.K., Egypt, Morocco, U.S., and India, issued early travel advisories and asked their nationals to leave Ukraine straight-away because it was certain that President Putin would invade Ukraine, in consequence, they pulled families and students out. These Nigerians are victims. They were abandoned by their nation at a time of crisis. It is an unfortunate event and it should never repeat itself.

Economically, the Russia-Ukraine catastrophe and the resulting higher crude oil prices have been heartwarming for Nigeria’s financial markets, specifically, the foreign exchange, equities, and the income markets. With the high oil prices, foreign reserves will surely increase. However, humanity is more valuable than ‘prices or equities’. Nigeria should most importantly, make sure her citizens return home safely.

 

 

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