By Maureen Okon (with additional reports)
Abuja, Feb. 6, 2022
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) on Sunday, called on Nigerian citizens living in Ukraine to remain calm, amid growing fears that Russia could invade Ukraine.
The call is contained in a statement by Mr. Gabriel Odu, a Media, Public Relations and Protocol Officer at the Commission.
The statement made it clear that Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO of NiDCOM had urged Nigerians in Ukraine to be calm and security conscious in view of the strained relations between Ukraine and Russia.
“Dabiri-Erewa has assured that the Nigerian Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine is doing all it can to ensure the safety and security of all Nigerians in that country.
“The NiDCOM boss also urged Nigerian citizens in Ukraine to visit the embassy’s website and duly follow the registration processes (available there).
“Meanwhile a statement from the Nigerian Embassy in Kiev has further provided information and necessary action with regards to emergencies and concerns,” the statement quoted Dabiri-Erewa as saying.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden has announced the increase of U.S. troops in Europe to strengthen North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO’s) eastern flank as a response to the build-up of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.
A total of 1,700 troops will be redeployed from the U.S. to Poland, while a further 300 troops are to be sent to Germany.
In turn, some 1,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Germany will be redeployed to Romania, which shares a border with Ukraine.
Washington, Feb. 6, 2022
In a related development, the U.S. government has announced that it is once again threatening Russia with the shutdown of the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the event of an invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan issued the threat in an interview with broadcaster NBC on Sunday.
“If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward and Russia understands that we [have] co-ordinated with our allies,” Sullivan said.
Asked if German Chancellor Olaf Scholz would publicly pledge such a measure during his inaugural visit to Washington on Monday, Sullivan said: “I’ll let the German Chancellor speak for himself.”
Doubts over the trans-Atlantic alliance have emerged in part due to Berlin’s adherence to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia, which the U.S. and Eastern European nations have strongly criticised.
Bratislava, Feb. 6, 2022
More U.S. troops landed in Poland on Sunday afternoon as part of the reinforcement of NATO military positions in Europe announced by Washington earlier this week.
News channel TVN24 showed footage of the latest arrivals at the Rzeszów–Jasionka airport in south-eastern Poland. The first additional US soldiers arrived at the airport on Saturday.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak welcomed the arrival of the allies, saying that deterrence and solidarity were the best response to the aggressive policy being pursued by Moscow over Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden announced the increase of US troops in Europe to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank as a response to the build-up of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.
A total of 1,700 troops will be redeployed from the US to Poland, while a further 300 troops are to be sent to Germany. In turn, some 1,000 US troops currently stationed in Germany will be redeployed to Romania, which shares a border with Ukraine.
Czech President Milos Zeman meanwhile sounded a rather different note, when he spoke out against sending Czech troops to reinforce NATO positions during a television discussion on Sunday.
Zeman, who as president is also technically commander-in-chief of the Czech armed forces, said that sending Czech troops would constitute unnecessary “sabre rattling.”
Arguing that the tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine were currently only a “war of words” fuelled by both sides, Zeman said that the conflict should be limited to that.
Earlier, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky argued that the deployment of additional NATO troops to areas bordering Ukraine also served Czech security.
Zeman criticised what he described as false reports which played up the danger of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying he did not fear such an attack.
“The Russians are not madmen,” Zeman said, adding that Moscow knew very well that it had far more to lose than it stood to gain from an invasion of Ukraine.