The French, Polish and German ambassadors to Singapore condemn Russia's actions as an attack on the world order that upholds the rights and sovereignty of all states.
Marc Abensour, Magdalena Bogdziewicz and Norbert Riedel
For The Straits Times
Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday took the decision to order an invasion of Ukraine. His decision is a blatant violation of international law. It violates Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. In such a critical situation, it is of key importance that the international community stands united by showing solidarity with Ukraine and by condemning Russia in no uncertain terms.
The invasion of Ukraine is an unprovoked declaration of war, based on a historical narrative that is blatantly twisted. While Russia pretends to answer the call of the so-called self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, it is obvious since the annexation of Crimea that is it pursuing territorial goals with no regard for international law.
The invasion is also a serious blow to diplomatic efforts to resolve the longstanding conflict in eastern Ukraine peacefully. Since 2014, Germany and France, fully supported by all their European partners, have worked in the so-called Normandy format and all partners, with Poland in the capacity as current chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have focused on resolving the enduring bloodshed politically.
The past few weeks have seen intense diplomatic engagement by European leaders to avoid further escalation. By shedding the two Minsk Agreements, President Putin has run roughshod over these diplomatic efforts.
Singapore may be far away from Europe and Ukraine. However, the invasion of Ukraine is an attack on the foundations of the global world order that upholds the rights and sovereignty of all states and the rule of international law. This system is and has always been at the core of Singapore's national interests. We are therefore united in our stance and fully share the Singapore Government's appeal for respect of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
A system where might is right is detrimental to all, in particular to small states. Condemning this unprecedented attack is therefore essential for all of us. For it is clear that if such aggression that is contrary to fundamental principles of international law gets a free pass and there are no reactions, international law is undermined. It is important that we remain united in not giving in to Russia acting as a ruthless aggressor.
In response to Russia's recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the European Union has adopted a comprehensive sanctions package against Russia - 555 individuals and 52 entities are now sanctioned in relation to the violations of Ukraine's territorial integrity. This includes the freezing of assets, travel bans, and a prohibition on financing the Russian Federation, its government and central bank.
In light of the latest developments, even tougher sanctions will follow. We call upon partners across the globe to adopt similar responses. We need to jointly underline that treading on key principles and the most elementary rules of international law has a high price. That must now be the joint message to Russia.
*This article first appeared in the Straits Times on 25th February 2022.