Singapore's defence minister Ng Eng Hen said it was hard to "reconcile the aggression" by Russia after it attacked Ukraine, signalling an end to "nearly 80 years of relative peace."
Sharing on Facebook on Feb. 24, Ng said that cities within Ukraine had turned into "war zones" overnight.
"Lives of innocent civilians there will be disrupted or lost. Hardship and suffering will inevitably follow," he said.
Mood at Munich Security Conference was "sombre"
Ng attended the recent Munich Security Conference, before the invasion began.
Even then, he said the mood was "sombre" as the assessment of many leaders he spoke to was that an attack on Ukraine was imminent.
By the time he returned to Singapore, the invasion had taken place.Ng said that while he hoped and prayed for peace to be restored, we should be reminded to never take peace for granted.
He added, "resolve for Singapore to strengthen our defence deterrence through a capable SAF and partnerships with like-minded countries."
Importance of developing partnerships
Previously, before the invasion, Ng had shared another Facebook post where he emphasised the importance of Singapore developing partnerships with "like-minded countries" in times of peace.
Ng said he was thankful that Singapore has many "strong and close friends" in this regard, and named leaders from India, France and Canada, as well as mentioning that he met with key U.S. leaders like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Chairmen of the Senate Committees.
"These close relationships and strong ties will help us weather future crises when they come," Ng said.Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has spoken out against Russian president Vladimir Putin's unilateral decision to recognise Ukraine territory in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as breakaway, independent states.
"The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected," it said.
After Putin commenced the invasion, MFA "strongly condemned" any unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country under any pretext.
Top image from Ng Eng Hen's Facebook page.
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