S'poreans advised to defer all travel to Ukraine over escalating tensions: MFA

The U.S. and the UK have withdrawn the families of diplomats from the country.

Matthias Ang | January 26, 2022, 09:46 PM

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Singaporeans are advised to defer all travel to Ukraine in light of escalating tensions within the region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press statement.

In addition, Singaporeans who are in Ukraine are strongly advised to remain vigilant and monitor local news closely.

Singapore has no diplomatic presence in Ukraine.

MFA added that Singaporeans there should take necessary precautions for their personal safety, and register electronically with the ministry immediately if they have not done so.

What's happening in Ukraine?

Russia has deployed about 100,000 troops on Ukraine's border, sparking concerns in Europe and the U.S. that it could invade the country, BBC reported.

Russia has denied having any such plan to invade, despite the troop build-up.

In response, the U.S. has put 8,500 troops on alert for deployment at short-notice.

It has also sent about 90 tonnes in "lethal aid" to the Eastern European nation, Reuters reported.

Western powers have also agreed to "unprecedented sanctions" on Russia, if it were to invade.

The Guardian reported that both the U.S. and UK have also withdrawn the families of diplomats from the country, amidst the rising tension.

What's driving Russia's actions?

According to NBC News, on January 21, Russia issued the following demands:

  • A stop on NATO's eastward expansion,
  • A formal veto on Ukraine from ever joining NATO, and
  • NATO's rollback of its military deployments in the region, among others.

These demands were rejected by the U.S. and NATO, on the grounds that it will significantly redraw the security landscape.

At least one political commentator has opined that Putin intentionally made excessive demands he knows will be rejected, so that he can claim the diplomatic approach has failed.

A senior U.S. official told the Guardian that Russia "knows" at least some of its demands would be seen as "unacceptable".

The U.S. also highlighted that the issue at stake was not NATO's expansion but Russia's aggression.

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