SINGAPORE — Ukraine will firmly resist Russia's invasion of its territory even as it urges the international community for support, said the Ukrainian ambassador to Singapore Kateryna Zelenko on Friday (25 February).
"We stay firm. We are committed. We will resist," declared Zelenko in a virtual media briefing.
How long Ukraine can hold out against the invasion will depend on the support of its Western partners and the international community, said Zelenko.
"It will depend on the reaction of the world, of our Western partners, on their readiness to provide support to Ukraine, to disengage Russia from Swift, which will be a painful measure," said Zelenko, who was referring to the global interbank payments system in response to a query from Yahoo News Singapore.
Extending military support to Ukraine is "critical", along with providing humanitarian aid to the eastern European nation from around the world and imposing financial sanctions against Russia, Zelenko added.
Asked if the Ukrainian military could possibly defeat the Russian forces, Zelenko said that there would be "huge" losses. "The most important thing is that we do not have other choice. We have a powerful enemy on our territory. And with all means which we have, we try to protect our territorial integrity."
Ongoing conflict since 2014
On Thursday, Moscow unleashed the largest attack against a European state since World War Two with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, causing tens of thousands of Ukrainians to flee their homes, after months of tensions between both sides.
According to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, some 157 Ukrainians died on the first day of the invasion, with 316 wounded. He also claimed that his forces had knocked out more than 50 Russian tanks, up to 130 armoured combat vehicles, seven airplanes and six helicopters.
Russia has already lost more than 450 personnel in the Ukraine invasion, according to estimates by the UK government.
US president Joe Biden imposed robust new sanctions on Russia on Thursday and deployed thousands of additional troops to Germany. However, he said that cutting Russia off from Swift is not being proposed "right now".
The current conflict follows an earlier invasion and annexation of the Crimea region in Ukraine by Russian forces in 2014. Crimea was one of the staging posts for the Russian invasion on Thursday.
The southeast region of Donbass in Ukraine has also seen armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces since 2014.
'Strong support' from Singapore
Zelenko thanked Singapore for its "strong support", alluding to a statement on Thursday from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) which strongly condemned the “unprovoked invasion” of the nation of 44 million. “We reiterate that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected,” said an MFA spokesperson.
Ukraine and Singapore are "on the same page" when it comes to protecting international law in resolving issues.
"We see a lot of messages from Singaporeans which we get from email or just from people who we know supporting us," said the ambassador, who added that her country is seeking humanitarian aid from the city-state.
"History repeats itself. That is what we know from the schoolbooks. We cannot let this happen again."
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