Singapore will impose unilateral sanctions against Russia, in a move a former diplomat said was the first time in decades that the city-state had condemned a foreign country without the support of the UN Security Council.
On Saturday, the State Department said the sanctions include export controls of items that can be used as weapons, financial measures on the Russian banks involved, and restrictions on cryptocurrency transactions that may be used to circumvent financial sanctions.
Theoretically, it’s a dangerous precedent. This is why Singapore is strongly condemned for a small country like Singapore, this is not a principle of the unprovoked Russian attack on Ukraine.
The measures also prohibit Singaporean financial institutions from providing services that would assist the Russian government in raising new funds.
Singapore’s trade-in merchandise with Russia amounted to about S$5 billion ($7.3 billion) in 2021, a representative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in an email, adding that imports from Russia and Ukraine accounted for 8.0% of the city’s total imports.
On the other hand, Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (GIC) said on Saturday that it will halt government funds’ investments in newly issued Russian sovereign debt and central banks.
As a spokesperson for Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC explained in an email:
The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund “GIC” continues to assess the Russian-Ukrainian situation
It will ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”
The small island nation rarely imposes sanctions on other countries without binding approval from the United Nations Security Council, with Foreign Minister Vivian Balkrishnan telling parliament on February 28 that:
“Russia’s show of force threatens a world order that would severely harm security and survival. for countries
The largest Singaporean banks are already restricting trade financing for Russian raw materials, including stopping the issuance of letters of credit in US dollars for trading in oil and liquefied natural gas.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines has suspended all return services with Moscow for operational reasons.
Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs
So far, Singapore is the only Southeast Asian country imposing sanctions on Russia, although seven of the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations voted to condemn its invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. (Laos and Vietnam abstained.)
The region’s leaders are concerned about the potential fallout from the war, with foreign ministers from ASEAN countries calling on Wednesday for an “immediate ceasefire”. They said in a joint statement:
“We are deeply disturbed by the aggravation of the situation and the increase in its severity, and the consequent deterioration of the situation.
humanity as a result of continuing military hostilities.”
With the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Asian countries intensified sanctions against Russia in an attempt to isolate the country.