Forum: Expansionist wars have no place in today's international system

I commend the Singapore Government for its strong condemnation of Russian aggression against Ukraine, and its decision to impose sanctions and restrictions against Russia (Singapore strongly condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine: PM Lee, Feb 28; and Singapore will impose export controls on items that can be used as weapons in Ukraine: Vivian Balakrishnan, Feb 28).

Singaporeans should be extremely wary of rhetoric like that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has appealed to a blinkered interpretation of history and tribal identities to justify invading a sovereign nation.

The toll of the war is considerable. Ukraine has accused Russia of deliberately targeting some of Ukraine's civilian infrastructure and hospitals.

The United Nations has reported at least 536 civilian casualties, including at least 136 dead, and around 600,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring countries as at Tuesday.

These suggest that there may be ongoing violations of the laws of armed conflict under the Geneva Conventions as well as international crimes.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan has said that he is launching an investigation into the situation in Ukraine.

Singapore should press for accountability of those responsible for the present conflict to the fullest extent possible under international law.

Expansionist wars have no place in the international system of today, and the international community has a stake in ensuring the rights of all nations and peoples are respected and upheld.

Darius Lee

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