Speaking Of Asia

A Ukrainian message for South-east Asia

Crimea and the Donbass region may be far away from the South China Sea, but their fates tell a story of what happens when might becomes right

After spending an hour with visiting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko and, subsequently, hearing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong say in Davos that there are times when you need to stand up and call things as they are, I went looking to see what position Singapore had taken six years ago when the Russians intervened in Ukraine following the Maidan Revolution.

Here is the background: Ukraine emerged from the former Soviet Union as an independent nation in 1991. Its troubles started when it began leaning towards the West, and Nato, a few years after it gained independence. Moscow fretted that Ukraine did not intend to remain a neutral state.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2020, with the headline 'A Ukrainian message for South-east Asia'. Subscribe