What youths think about Singapore imposing sanctions on Russia
While most agree with Singapore’s sanctions on Russia, some feel sanctions alone might not stop Russia from attacking Ukraine.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Singapore Government has imposed unilateral sanctions on Russia, including export controls on items that can be used as weapons in Ukraine.
Giving a ministerial statement in Parliament on Feb 28, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said that Singapore will also block certain Russian banks and financial transactions connected to Russia.
He added that Singaporeans should anticipate a rise in the cost of living as a result of the crisis as we rely on Ukraine for most of our energy needs.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also took to social media to share his disapproval of the way Russia is handling the situation.
Youthopia spoke to some youths to hear their views on the imposed sanctions:
Setting an example for other Southeast Asia countries
“I think it is an unprecedented and bold move. All along, Singapore has been neutral on geopolitical issues because we want to maintain diplomatic relations with everyone, such as the US and China.
“However, the sanctions Singapore imposed on Russia signifies that we want to take a stance on this issue. I feel like as a small country, we may become a target after this too. But I guess we are kind of the “leader” in Southeast Asia (SEA). If we condemn Russia’s actions first, other SEA countries may follow suit which will hopefully lead to more global pressure on Russia.
“We have good ties with everyone in the SEA region, especially with the existence of ASEAN, so the possibility of us being in a war with our neighbouring countries is not high.
“However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine can serve as an example of how any country can invade others, supported by their own justification. We definitely shouldn’t be taking national defence for granted.” – Lee Qing Qian, 20, Student
Afraid that the sanctions may not be enough
“Though sanctions against Russia and contributions to the affected communities of Ukraine may seem valuable on paper, I do not believe that such actions taken by Singapore are sufficient to put a stop on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The UN has already tried to withhold Russia’s invasion through various similar methods over the past few weeks but they clearly have not worked. I believe that it isn’t long till the rest of the world has to step in using active, physical force.
“Having watched various videos online of family members having to leave their fathers behind in Kyiv as they flee down South, and of regular citizens voluntary taking up arms to defend their country, this ongoing turmoil in Ukraine certainly highlights the unpredictability of global affairs and the importance of having a national defence force to protect one’s people and property.” – Caleb Lian, 18, NSF
Imposing sanctions on Russia will be a double-edged sword for Singapore
“I think the sanctions Singapore has imposed are the right course of action, since the aggression between Russia and Ukraine is not desired by most and Singapore’s actions show our stance.
“Of course, the current situation will have repercussions on our economy, because oil refining is a major part of Singapore’s economy and we still rely on fossil fuels for energy. As the cost of oil as a raw material goes up, there will be a direct impact on our energy cost and an indirect twofold impact on our refinery revenue as industries cut back on oil demand.
“The cost of war needs to be borne by someone. And as Singapore is a customer of oil export, we too bear part of the cost of this conflict initiated by Russia.” – Samuel Ding, 23, Student
An independent country should be free to make its own choices
“I feel it will do little to change the situation because stopping a country’s undesirable actions is the collective efforts of many countries. I have always pitied Ukraine because it is sandwiched between Russia and Europe and thus will always be forced to pick a side.
“I hope with enough sanctions, Russia will stop its invasion of Ukraine because it is an independent country and deserves to determine its own future.” – Noor Iskandaria, 26, Data entry clerk
Seeing the importance of national defence
“I think it’s about time Singapore imposed such economic sanctions on Russia. This war is a case of a big country “bullying” a small country. With countries such as Singapore imposing sanctions, it will restrict Russia’s financial ability for this war, allowing Ukraine to work towards a peaceful settlement.
“With everything going on, I view national defence as more important now than ever. If a country does not have a strong and independent defence, it is likely to fall apart once conflict breaks out. As a full time serviceman in SAF, this war really stresses to me the need for having strong internal defence.” – Kevin Montero, 21, NSF
Written by Amanda Tan, Caleb Lau, Shannon Kuan, and Naren Sankar