SINGAPORE: Singapore will impose financial measures targeted at designated Russian banks, entities and activities in Russia, as well as fundraising activities benefiting the Russian government, said Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Saturday (Mar 5).
The Singapore Government will also 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, MFA added in a press statement.
The sanctions and restrictions against Russia come in response to its invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb 24.
Earlier this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore will impose sanctions on Russia “in concert with other like-minded countries”, and cited the “unprecedented gravity” of the Russian invasion.
On Saturday, MFA said the invasion of Ukraine “contravenes” the United Nations 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,” said the ministry.
“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.”
The restrictions aim to constrain Russia’s capacity to “conduct war against Ukraine and undermine its sovereignty”, added MFA.
It detailed the sanctions and measures Singapore will take in response to the Ukraine invasion.
The Singapore Strategic Goods Control System regulates the transfer - export, transit, and transhipment - of strategic goods which are generally military weapons or their parts as well as high technology goods that could be used for both commercial and military purposes.
Items subject to strategic goods control are listed in the Strategic Goods (Control) Order (SGCO) 2021.
In order to “constrain Russia’s capacity to conduct war in Ukraine and cyber aggression”, all permit operations to Russia involving all items on the list of military goods under the SGCO will be rejected.
All category codes under Category 3 (Electronics), Category 4 (Computers) and Category 5 (Telecommunications) and Information Security on the List of Dual-Use Goods under the SGCO will also be rejected.
Singapore will impose financial measures targeted at Russian banks, entities and activities in Russia, as well as fundraising activities for the Russian government.
Digital payment token service providers are specifically prohibited from facilitating transactions that could help to circumvent these financial measures, said MFA.
Financial institutions in Singapore will be prohibited from entering into transactions or establishing business relationships with four Russian banks: VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, The Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank, Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company and Bank Rossiya.
“Where there are existing business relationships, financial institutions must freeze any assets and funds of these four banks,” said MFA.
Financial institutions in Singapore will also be barred from providing financing or financial services relating to the export from Singapore or any other jurisdiction of goods subject to Singapore’s export controls on Russia.
These goods comprise all items on the Military Goods List and specified categories in the Dual-Use Goods List in the SGCO.
Financial services in relation to designated Russian non-bank entities that are involved in such activities will also be prohibited by Singapore.
“Where there are existing business relationships, financial institutions must freeze any assets and funds of these designated entities. Details on the designation of non-bank entities will be provided subsequently,” said MFA.
Financial institutions in Singapore cannot enter into transactions, arrangements or provide financial services that facilitate fundraising by: The Russian government; the Central Bank of the Russian Federation; any entity owned or controlled by them or acting on their direction or behalf.
The prohibitions apply to buying and selling new securities, providing financial services that facilitate new fundraising, and making or participating in the making of any new loan to the entities owned or controlled by the Russian government and the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
The Singapore Government and Monetary Authority of Singapore will also cease investing in newly issued securities of the above entities, said MFA.
The ministry added that financial institutions in Singapore will be prohibited from entering into transactions or providing financial services in the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, in the sectors of: Transport; telecommunications; energy; and prospecting, exploration and production of oil, gas and mineral resources.
They also cannot enter into or facilitate any transactions involving cryptocurrencies, to circumvent any of the prohibitions.
The prohibited cryptocurrency transactions cover all transactions that involve cryptocurrencies and extend to the payment and settlement of transactions that relate to digital assets, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), said MFA.
These measures apply to all financial institutions in Singapore, including banks, finance companies, insurers, capital markets intermediaries, securities exchanges and payment service providers.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore will issue directions to all financial institutions, setting out the details of the measures, said MFA.
"Singapore is a consistent and staunch supporter of international law and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter," said the ministry.
"The sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all countries, big and small, must be respected. Singapore takes any violation of these core principles seriously, as they are fundamental to the survival of Singapore, a small state."
A spokesperson for Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC said: "Our client, the Government of Singapore, has said ... that it will cease investing in newly issued securities by the Russian government; the Central Bank of the Russian Federation; or any entity owned or controlled by them or acting on their direction or behalf.
"This includes investments of Government’s funds managed by GIC. GIC continues to assess the Russian-Ukrainian situation and will ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations."