The Ukraine Embassy in Nigeria asked Nigerians willing to join Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces to provide $1,000 for flight ticket and visa.
Second Secretary at the embassy, Bohdan Soltys spoke when young able-bodied men stormed its premises in the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday to volunteer their services to Ukraine.
Speaking to The Punch, he stated that $1,000 would be needed by Nigerians who volunteer.
According to him, another challenge that would hinder Nigerians from traveling to Ukraine now, is the airspace which had been shut due to the war.
In his words; “It is normal practice when people want to volunteer and join the army of another country. It is a normal international practice. Of course, for us, it is an expression of support which we really appreciate. For now, no one has gone. We have received hundreds of applications from people who said they are willing. We have sent lists to the government but I cannot tell you what will happen next.
“In this particular case, you cannot fly to Ukraine. The only way you can fly is to countries that border Ukraine. All these countries are part of the EU and Nigerians will need visas to visit these countries. So, it is a big obstacle. You cannot fly directly to Ukraine. You will have to go to Poland or Hungary”.
The diplomat who noted that Ukraine was not recruiting mercenaries but volunteers, advised Nigerians not to focus on the money. He, however, promised that Nigerian volunteers would be paid the same as Ukrainian soldiers.
“If a person wants to fight for Ukraine or any other country, only volunteers can do it. If Ukraine pays these people, they will be mercenaries and it violates international law… In general, when a person joins another country’s army, they pay the normal price that their soldiers are paid. This is how it works across the world. You come to fight because an injustice has been done,” he said.
On why $1,000 was being demanded from Nigerians, Soltys said; “Yes, $1,000. That is what I paid the last time I visited Ukraine.”