A Nigerian scholar in Russia, Dr Maurice Okoli has advised the leaders of the West to reconsider the idea of Ukraine membership in NATO and enter into serious negotiations with Russia over its security demands.

Okoli, a Senior Research fellow at the Institute for African Studies Academy of Sciences Russia, said in a statement he issued on Tuesday in Abuja, that Russia’s request as a result of security concerns.

He said that as a world power, it is most unlikely for Russia to allow Ukraine to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or for the United States (U.S.) or NATO to establish military bases in Ukraine.

The scholar stressed that just as the U.S. would not allow for Russian Military Bases in Cuba or Venezuela, it was only expected for Russia to be averse to Ukraine’s alliance with the West.

“The thought of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO which is the cause of present tension between Russia and the West is a red line for Russia. They will never allow it no matter the circumstance.

“With my good knowledge of the mysteriousness of the Russian soul, my humble advice is that the West should look at the demands of Russia and enter into serious negotiations with Russia.

“They should reconsider the idea of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO.

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“Russia will never allow it to happen and Ukrainian leadership knows this too well even with their games because the tie between Russia and Ukraine is so deep,” he said.

Okoli pointed out that both countries, formerly of the Soviet Union, though now separated, are very close relatives – with over 35 per cent of Ukrainians speaking only Russian and more than six million Russians in Ukraine.

He said that the demography meant that if Ukraine were to join NATO, it would be doing so with six million Russians.

Russia does not like uncertainty and highly value stability and security. The expansion of NATO close to Russian borders is a serious source of concern, uncertainty, instability and insecurity.

It takes less than six minutes for the missile to reach Moscow from Ukraine.

“How will the West feel if Russian deploy missiles in Cuba and Venezuela?

“War was merely averted when the Soviet Union tried to deploy missiles in Cuba at the peak of the cold war,” he said.

He expressed worry that no amount of sanctions will deter Russia or compel it into accepting Ukraine’s membership in NATO.

He however stressed that Russia had no intentions of invading Ukraine as that would mean risking the life of Russians and Ukrainians whom they regard as their brothers and sisters.

The scholar described as false the accusation that Russia wanted to reclaim all the territories that made up the Soviet Union. The Russian plan is not to expand Russia but to protect Russian security interests from NATO expansion towards its borders.

He warned that the drums of war were already beating louder with recent moves and talks by America, stressing the need for dialogue.

“As a matter of urgency, there is a need to tone down the rhetoric of war. There is an urgent need for de-escalation from all sides involved.

“One miscalculation or one misjudgment could trigger a war.

“The world is being ravaged by Covid-19 pandemic and major socio-economic and political turmoil and this drum of war is the last thing the world needs now,” he said.

He added that Russians are very pleasant people and the common features of the Russian character are generosity, resilience and strength. Russians are inventive people with a huge capacity to endure and overcome difficulties with a strong spirit. The Russian person is often a mystery because of many extremes intertwined in his soul.

Cold planning and calculations as it is in the West are not for Russians. They are pushed by brilliant insights and unconventional thinking. Russia should be appreciated for losing over 13 million of its people to save the world from Fascism.

Vanguard News Nigeria


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