Russia names S'pore in list of 'unfriendly' countries

All corporate deals with companies and individuals from S'pore would've to be approved by Moscow.

Belmont Lay | March 08, 2022, 01:41 AM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Moscow named Singapore explicitly in a list of countries and territories that “commit unfriendly actions” against Russia, its companies, and citizens.

The Russian News Agency, also known as TASS, reported on March 7 that Singapore was on the list together with a host of other countries.

They include the United States, Canada, the European Union states, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland, Albania, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, North Macedonia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Micronesia, New Zealand, and Taiwan.

Word got out about the list of "unfriendly" countries and appeared on social media.

The actual list was also put up online.

Moscow's approval needed for deals

Reuters reported that all corporate deals with companies and individuals from "unfriendly countries" have to get approval from a government commission, a Russian government resolution made known, amidst the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and in the wake of severe economic sanctions slapped on the aggressor.

The list follows a presidential decree on March 5 allowing the Russian government, companies and citizens to use roubles to temporarily pay foreign currency debts owed to overseas creditors from "unfriendly countries".

The Russian rouble has devalued in the wake of the invasion and amidst sanctions that could, if prolonged, crater the Russian economy.

Singapore was one of many countries that have announced wide-ranging sanctions against Russia after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

What Singapore sanctions on Russia entail

Singapore will enact targeted sanctions that restrict Russia's ability to wage war in Ukraine, and prevent the use of weapons that could harm or subjugate the Ukrainian people.

This was announced by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament on Feb. 28, explaining that Singapore needed to stand up for the principles of sovereignty for smaller nations.

On March 5, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) revealed further details of these sanctions and financial measures.

As MFA said in its statement:

"These sanctions and restrictions aim to constrain Russia’s capacity to conduct war against Ukraine and undermine its sovereignty. We will impose export controls on items that can be directly used as weapons to inflict harm on or to subjugate the Ukrainians, as well as items that can contribute to offensive cyber operations."

There will be a ban on the transfer of the following items to Russia:

The Singapore Strategic Goods Control System regulates the transfer (export, transit, and transshipment) of strategic goods which are generally military weapons or their parts, in addition to high technology goods that could be used for both commercial and military purposes.

Financial measures

In addition to export controls, Singapore will impose financial restrictions too.

They are aimed at selected Russian banks, entities and activities, as well as fund-raising activities that benefit the Russian government.

Digital payment token service providers, in particular, are prohibited from facilitating transactions that could help circumvent these measures. This includes transactions involving cryptocurrencies, as well as digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

MFA added, "These measures apply to all financial institutions in Singapore, including banks, finance companies, insurers, capital markets intermediaries, securities exchanges and payment service providers."

MFA further elaborated on the government's rationale for taking such steps.

It reiterated Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's statement that the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all countries, big and small, must be respected.

Top photo via TASS

Follow and listen to our podcast here