S'pore to impose export controls on items that can be used as weapons in Ukraine, block certain Russian banks

Singapore intends to work with other like-minded countries to take a strong stance against the Russian invasion and to de-escalate tensions.

Sulaiman Daud | February 28, 2022, 01:44 PM

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Singapore will impose export controls on Russia and limit certain financial transactions connected to Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced this in a ministerial statement in Parliament on Feb. 28, explaining how Singapore will work with other countries, including Asean and international partners, to take a "strong stance" against the invasion, to end further bloodshed and de-escalate tensions.

Export controls and financial restrictions

Singapore will impose these export controls on items that can be used directly as weapons in Ukraine to inflict harm on or to subjugate the Ukrainians.

Singapore will also block certain Russian banks and financial transactions connected to Russia, with specific measures to be worked out and announced in more detail at a later date.

Vivian warned that these measures would come at some cost and implications on Singapore, its businesses and the public.

Vivian explained:

"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."

United Nations decision

While Singapore has good relations with Russia and the Russian people, Vivian said that such violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity of another sovereign state cannot be accepted.

Vivian elaborated that a few days ago, a draft resolution was presented at the United Nations (UN) Security Council to condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Singapore was one of 82 co-sponsors of that resolution. 11 out of the 15 current Security Council members voted in support, with China, India and the UAE abstaining. However, as expected, Russia used its veto power on the resolution.

A move in support of international law, not an anti-Russian one

The UN General Assembly will begin debating a similar resolution later today. They are not subject to a veto but are also non-binding. Vivian said that Singapore will comply with the spirit and the letter of the general assembly decision.

While Singapore has "rarely" imposed sanctions without a binding Security Council direction, given the "unprecedented gravity" of the Russian attack and the veto, Singapore will step up to work with other like-minded countries.

Former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Bilahari Kausikan supported the decision, sharing on Facebook that he considered it an "excellent statement".

He also made the point that this should not be seen as an anti-Russian move, but a show of support for international law.

Top image from Dmytro Kuleba's Twitter account and CNA YouTube.

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