Russia attacked Ukraine today (Feb 24) after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of carrying out “a special military operation”.
He said that the move was to defend separatists in the east of Ukraine and that the operation would not include the “occupation of Ukrainian territory”.
Yet, thousands have fled the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, moving further west scared by scenes of bloodshed and violence.
“We should never ever take our sovereignty and independence for granted”
Responding to the situation, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing posted on Facebook on Feb 24, emphasising the importance of a national defence and the collective will to defend ourselves.
He said: “It is a stark reminder to us that we should never ever take our sovereignty and independence for granted. Unless we are relevant, and possess the means and will to defend ourselves, we will be held ransom by the geo-strategic contests of others.”
He added that Singaporeans should be most concerned about the reasons or excuses for invasion and how international laws and norms are to be upheld.
Singapore is gravely concerned: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
MFA also released a statement on Feb 24, condemning “any unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country under any pretext”.
Here’s the full statement.
“Singapore is gravely concerned by Russia’s announcement of the start of a “special military operation” in the Donbas region; and reports of land and air attacks on multiple targets in Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
Singapore strongly condemns any unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country under any pretext.
We reiterate that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected.
We hope military actions will cease immediately; and urge a peaceful settlement of the dispute, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.”
The need for a strong defence
For a small country like Singapore, everyone has a part to play to defend our sovereignty; we should also expect no one else but us to defend our land.
That is why a strong Singapore Armed Forces is imperative to our survival.
Because what we cannot defend, we cannot call our own.
Cover photo credit: OSINTtechnical and Alec Luhn on Twitter.