Singapore strongly condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine: PM Lee

The Independence Square in Kyiv. PM Lee Hsien Loong said Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be respected. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore strongly condemns Russia's invasion and affirms that Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be respected, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In a Facebook post on Monday (Feb 28), Mr Lee stressed that the situation unfolding in Ukraine is important to Singapore.

"If international relations are based on 'might is right', the world will be a dangerous place for small countries like Singapore. This is why Singapore staunchly supports international law and the United Nations Charter, which prohibits acts of aggression against a sovereign state," said Mr Lee.

Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on Feb 24 after months of tensions at the border, with Russian troops massing and conducting military exercises. Its actions have been widely condemned by countries around the world.

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan had earlier on Monday spoken in Parliament about the situation in Ukraine, and PM Lee noted that eight years ago, then-Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam did the same when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

"The lessons for us, then and now, are stark. When treaties and diplomacy fail, we cannot rely on others to protect us. We must never lose the capability to defend ourselves," he said.

Singapore's best deterrent against aggressors is national service and a strong and operationally ready Singapore Armed Forces, he added.

As a small country, Singapore has to maintain good relations with all countries big and small, he said.

It does not choose sides but instead "(charts) its our own course based on consistent principles and long-term national interests".

Singapore must also remain united and cohesive, said Mr Lee, who highlighted that domestic politics must "stop at our shores".

"We have been lucky to enjoy peace and stability now for more than 50 years. Russia's attack on Ukraine reminds us how precious this is, and how important it is for all of us who call Singapore home to work together to preserve this happy state of affairs," he said.

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