Singapore to impose sanctions on Russia, will continue to take strong stance against invasion of Ukraine: Vivian Balakrishnan

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will also participate in the Asean Foreign Ministers' Retreat on Wednesday and Thursday.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

SINGAPORE - Singapore will impose export controls on items that can be used directly as weapons in Ukraine to inflict harm or to subjugate the Ukrainians, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told Parliament on Monday (Feb 28).

It will also block certain Russian banks and financial transactions connected to Russia, he added in a ministerial statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Specific measures are being worked out, and will be announced shortly, the minister added.

"We continue to value our good relations with Russia and the Russian people. However, we cannot accept such violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity of another sovereign state," the minister said.

"We will continue to work with our Asean and international partners to take a strong stance against the invasion of Ukraine and to end further violence and bloodshed and to deescalate tensions."

He noted that Singapore was one of 82 co-sponsors of a recent UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia's aggression against Ukraine, which was not passed as Russia - a permanent member of the council - vetoed it.

The resolution was supported by 11 of the 15 council members, with China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstaining.

A similar resolution will be debated by the UN General Assembly later on Monday.

"Singapore has always complied fully with sanctions and decisions of the United Nations Security Council. But we have rarely acted to impose sanctions on other countries in the absence of binding Security Council decisions or directions," said the minister.

"However, given the unprecedented gravity of the Russian attack on Ukraine, and the unsurprising veto by Russia of a draft Security Council resolution, Singapore intends to act in concert with many other like-minded countries to impose appropriate sanctions and restrictions against Russia."

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Dr Balakrishnan added: "We must expect that our measures will come at some cost and implications on our businesses, citizens and indeed to 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."

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.