Singapore cannot take peace and sovereignty for granted, say ministers in reaction to attack on Ukraine
SINGAPORE: Singapore cannot take its peace and sovereignty for granted, said two of its ministers on Thursday (Feb 24) in reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In a Facebook post, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said the situation in Ukraine should be "of concern to us all" - "from the bloodshed and loss of innocent lives, to the impact on the global economy, energy prices and livelihoods".
"But we should be most concerned about the reasons or even excuses to justify the use of force to violate sovereignty, as well as how international laws and norms are to be upheld," said Mr Chan on Thursday.
He added that the events of Thursday were a "stark reminder" to Singaporeans to never take Singapore's soverignty and independence for granted.
"Unless we are relevant, and possess the means and will to defend ourselves, we will be held ransom by the geostrategic contests of others," said Mr Chan.
In a separate post by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, he said: "We continue to hope and pray for peace to be restored.
"But we remind ourselves too, never to take peace for granted, and resolve for Singapore to strengthen our defence deterrence through a capable Singapore Armed Forces and partnerships with like-minded countries."
Dr Ng noted that the mood at the Munich Security Conference last week had been "sombre" and that the assessment of many leaders he had spoken with was that an attack on Ukraine was "imminent".
"Even as I touched down in Singapore, it has come to pass.
"It’s hard to reconcile this aggression after experiencing nearly 80 years of relative peace – cities within Ukraine have been turned into war zones overnight," said Dr Ng.
He added that lives of innocent civilians there would be disrupted or lost, followed "inevitably" by hardship and suffering.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday that the country is "gravely concerned" by Russia’s announcement of the start of a “special military operation” in the Donbas region of Ukraine, as well as reports of land and air attacks on multiple targets in the Eastern European country.
"Singapore strongly condemns any unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country under any pretext," said an MFA spokesperson in a statement.
"We reiterate that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected," the spokesperson added.
"We hope military actions will cease immediately; and urge a peaceful settlement of the dispute, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.”