Singapore to impose export controls, sanctions on Russia: Vivian Balakrishnan

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, addresses Parliament on Tuesday, 2 February 2021. (PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information YouTube channel
Singapore's Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan addresses Parliament on Tuesday, 2 February 2021. (SCREENSHOT: Ministry of Communications and Information/YouTube )

SINGAPORE — Singapore will impose export controls on items that can be used directly as weapons in Ukraine, as well as certain financial sanctions on Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, said Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament on Monday (28 February).

The city-state will block certain Russian banks and financial transactions connected to Moscow. Specific measures will be announced shortly.

In a ministerial statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Dr Balakrishnan noted that Singapore has rarely acted to impose sanctions on other countries in the absence of binding United Nations Security Council decisions or directions.

However, given the "unprecedented gravity" of the Russian attack, Singapore intends to impose appropriate sanctions and restriction, in concert with many other like-minded countries. While the country values good relations with Russia and the Russian people, it cannot accept such violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity of another sovereign state.

"We cannot accept one country attacking another without justification, arguing that his independence was the result of 'historical errors and crazy decisions'. Such a rationale would go against the internationally recognised legitimacy and territorial integrity of many countries, including Singapore," said Dr Balakrishnan.

The minister noted that the sanctions will come "at some cost" for businesses, citizens and Singapore. "However, unless we as a country stand up for principles that are the very foundation for the independence and sovereignty of smaller nations, our own right to exist and prosper as a nation may similarly be called into question one day."

Singapore was one of 82 co-sponsors of a Security Council resolution condemning the invasion. The resolution was not passed as Russia, a permanent member of the Council, vetoed it. Nevertheless, Singapore strongly condemned the “unprovoked invasion” of Ukraine last Thursday.

On Friday, Ukraine ambassador to Singapore Kateryna Zelenko told reporters that how long Ukraine can hold out against the invasion will depend on the support of its Western partners and the international community.

Ukrainian and Russian officials are scheduled for peace talks at a venue on the Belarusian border with Ukraine.

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