Offence for anyone in Singapore to travel to Ukraine to take up arms: MHA

Volunteers train for territorial defence at the warrior house following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 6, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - It is an offence for any person in Singapore to travel or try to travel to Ukraine to take up arms in the conflict there, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday (March 10).

The ministry said it is aware that the Embassy of Ukraine here has received calls from people expressing an interest to join the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine.

Singapore has taken a clear stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and strongly condemns the invasion, said the ministry in a statement.

It added that the Singapore Government has called upon Russia to cease hostilities, and respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

"We would like to highlight that it is an offence for any person, whilst in Singapore, to wage, attempt to wage, or abet the waging of war, against the government of any power with which Singapore is not at war," the ministry said.

"For citizens of Singapore, in particular, even if they commit these acts whilst outside Singapore, they will be legally deemed to have committed them as if in Singapore, and hence liable for an offence."

Under the law, those who try to do so can be imprisoned for life, or up to 15 years. They can also be fined.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times on the Government’s assessment of the level of threats here, a ministry spokesman said that the police are monitoring the developments in Ukraine closely. 

It will calibrate both security and public order measures accordingly and, the spokesman added, that the police may conduct enhanced patrols where necessary.

“The police would like to remind the public that organising or participating in a public assembly without a police permit in Singapore is illegal and constitutes an offence under the Public Order Act 2009,” he said. 

The MHA spokesman also said that foreigners visiting or living in Singapore must abide by local laws. 

“Those who break the law will be dealt with firmly, and this may include termination of visa or work passes. Members of the public who cause harm to foreigners visiting or living in Singapore will also be dealt with firmly,” he said.

MHA advised members of the public who wish to help Ukrainians to do so via legal channels.

For instance, they may donate to legitimate organisations, such as the Singapore Red Cross, that are raising funds for humanitarian aid to support affected communities in Ukraine, it said.

Follow The Straits Times' live coverage on the Ukraine crisis here.

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