Professor Jonah Onuoha, a don, said on Tuesday that Russia could sustain its attacks on Ukraine in spite of the sanctions imposed against it by the U.S. and its partners.
Onuoha, who is the Head of the Political Science Department, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a reaction to the raging conflict between the two eastern European countries.
He, however, said the intervention of neutral parties could help bring about a ceasefire and give room for negotiations towards sustainable peace in the area.
The don said the neutral countries could assure Russia that Ukraine would not join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as well as prevail on Ukraine to suspend every move to join NATO.
“The ‘bone of contention’ of Russia as far as the invasion of Ukraine is concerned is that Ukraine indicated interest to join NATO which Russia sees as a threat, with Ukraine being a neighbouring country.
“Russia believes if Ukraine were to join NATO, it would provide the opportunity for western countries to attack it.
“If Russia is assured that Ukraine would not join NATO, it will pull out its military forces in Ukraine the next minute and that will end the war,’ he said.
The political scientist said that imposing sanctions on Russia would not solve the problem or achieve the desired results now because Russia “has a strong economy and is among the world’s superpowers.
“Whatever sanctions are placed against Russia, it will take time before the country begins to feel the full effect.
“Russia does not see any sanction imposed against it as anything so significant that it will panic and pull out from Ukraine.
“World leaders should give priority to how to reach a cease-fire agreement between Russia and Ukraine rather than focusing attention on placing sanctions that may not have the desired effect.
“If this war is allowed to continue, Russia might overrun Ukraine and the casualty rate might be too high for Ukraine,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Monday officially signed an application for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, according to a post from his verified Facebook page.
“(Zelenskyy) has just signed a historic document – Ukraine’s application for European Union membership,” tweeted Andrii Sybiha, the deputy head of the president’s office.
He added that Ukraine’s prime minister and head of parliament also signed a joint statement.
The signing of the document occurred hours after Zelenskyy had released a video appealing to the EU for membership and calling on Russian forces to go home.
The Ukranian leader urged the EU to allow Ukraine’s immediate entry under what he described as a “new special procedure,” on which he did not elaborate.
“Our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be equal,” he said, according to a translation from The Guardian.
“I am confident that it is fair. I am confident we have deserved it. I am confident that all this is possible,” he added.
Speaking at a news conference on Feb. 15 amid rising tensions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow did not want a war in Europe but demanded that the issue of Kyiv’s relationship with NATO be resolved in its entirety immediately.
Putin, who made the remark after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said Russia had been informed by Western powers that its neighbour would not join the transatlantic military alliance in the near future. But he warned that was not a satisfactory assurance.