S'pore sanctions aim to limit Russia's capacity to wage war on Ukraine & undermine its sovereignty

Digital payment token service providers are prohibited from facilitating transactions that could help circumvent the financial measures.

Sulaiman Daud | March 05, 2022, 12:59 PM

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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."

Singapore's stance against aggression

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.

As a staunch supporter of international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter, Singapore takes any violation of these core principles seriously, as they are fundamental to its survival, a small state.

As the United Nations resolution to condemn Russian aggression failed due to Russia, a Security Council member, making use of its veto power, Singapore will act together with many other like-minded countries, including countries in Asia, to impose appropriate sanctions and restrictions on Russia. MFA said:

"Russia’s invasion of Ukraine contravenes the UN Charter and is a clear and gross violation of international law. While we continue to value good relations with Russia and the Russian people, we cannot accept the Russian government’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another sovereign state. For a small state like Singapore, this is not a theoretical principle, but a dangerous precedent. This is why Singapore has strongly condemned Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine."

Singapore's stance has garnered international praise, including from Ukrainian officials.

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Top image from SES Ukraine's Telegram.

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