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HomeTrading NewsOp-ed: Freedom will prevail in Ukraine

Op-ed: Freedom will prevail in Ukraine

People paint over a Soviet Army monument with Ukrainian flag colors in Bulgaria, February 27, 2022.
Nikolay Doychinov | Afp | Getty Images

The following commentary was authored by 10 ambassadors and high commissioners resident in Singapore:

Kateryna Zelenko, Ukrainian Ambassador to SingaporeWilliam Hodgman, High Commissioner of Australia to SingaporeJean-Dominique Ieraci, High Commissioner of Canada to SingaporeIwona Piorko, European Union Ambassador to Singapore, on behalf of the ambassadors to Singapore of all EU member statesJun Yamazaki, Ambassador of Japan to SingaporeJo Tyndall, High Commissioner of New Zealand to SingaporeEivind S. Homme, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to SingaporeMehmet Burcin Gonenli, Ambassador of TurkeyKara Owen, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to SingaporeJonathan Kaplan, United States Ambassador to Singapore

The EU, G-7, Allies, and partners are united in denouncing Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified attack against Ukraine.

The pain and suffering we are witnessing in Europe today–the shattering of peace and stability–affects all of us around the world. As Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified invasion of Ukraine continues, let us be clear – Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen a war that will bring catastrophic loss of life and suffering to innocent human beings. The entire world stands with the people of Ukraine as they suffer a brutal attack by Russia’s military forces.

Putin has been planning this invasion for months, if not longer. He directed the movement of more than 175,000 troops and military equipment into positions along the Ukrainian border – the largest buildup of military forces in Europe since World War II. Putin flagrantly violated international law when he decreed Russia would recognize the purported “independence” of two so-called “republics” on Ukraine’s sovereign territory – “republics” Russia has propped up and controlled through political and armed proxies since 2014. These actions were political theater, centered on baseless claims, and falsely staged to create the pretext for Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24. The world is not fooled.

At Putin’s direction, Russia rejected every good faith effort Ukraine, the United States, the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and allies and partners made to address Russia’s alleged mutual security concerns – which Russia’s actions have proven to be no more than a pretext. We urged Russia to engage diplomatically, avoid needless conflict, and avert human suffering. And yet, while the UNSC was meeting to stand up for Ukrainian sovereignty, Putin declared his war.

Now Russia’s aerial bombing, troop deployments, and tank assaults have indiscriminately fallen on peaceful cities across Ukraine. The death and destruction that will follow Russia’s incursion will result in incalculable costs for the innocent people of Ukraine. There are credible reports of hospitals, orphanages, and kindergartens destroyed by Russian forces.

Russia’s invasion is a flagrant violation of international law and the international principles that we as an international community have all pledged to respect: national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the right of states to make their own decisions regarding their foreign and security policy arrangements. Our friends in Singapore share our grave concerns and have also emphasized the importance of upholding international law and the rules-based order, as evidenced by their decision to impose export controls and block certain Russian banks and financial institutions connected to Russia.

Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this invasion is bringing. We, the ambassadors and high commissioners of the Group of Seven (G7), the European Union and its Member States, and allies and friends of Ukraine, stand together against Russia’s illegal war. Our countries have responded and will continue to respond in a united and decisive way. As our leaders have said, the world will hold the Kremlin accountable.

Tens of thousands of people gather in Tiergarten park to protest against the ongoing war in Ukraine on February 27, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images

The United States, the 27 members of the European Union, as well as the UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and others are united in imposing massive, severe economic costs on Russia. Leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) met the morning of February 24 and agreed to restrict Russia’s ability to do business in U.S. Dollars, Euros, Pounds, and Yen. This will limit Russia’s ability to be part of the global economy and stunt Russia’s ability to finance and grow its military.

The G7 and the European Union also took action to impose strong sanctions and new limitations on what can be exported to Russia. We moved to cut off major Russian banks from the international financial system and sanctioned additional Russian elites and their family members. We also stopped the Russian government – and its state-owned enterprises – from raising money from United States or European investors, and plan to cut off more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports.

Our allies and partners are implementing similar measures. These unified actions will squeeze Russia’s access to finance and technology for strategic sectors of its economy, isolate Russia from financial activities worldwide, and degrade its industrial capacity for years to come.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds a news conference on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium February 24, 2022.
Yves Herman | Reuters

Collectively we are preparing to do more. NATO allies are prepared to defend themselves. The United States has already sent thousands of additional forces to Germany and Poland, and authorized the deployment of ground and air forces already stationed in Europe to NATO eastern flank Allies. Other NATO Allies and partners are stepping up, too, adding their own forces and capabilities to ensure our security collectively. As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, these actions show NATO’s collective defense commitment is ironclad, and that its members are standing as one to protect their freedom and values.

The coming weeks and months will be hard for the people of Ukraine – Putin has unleashed great pain and suffering on them. But the Ukrainian people have known 30 years of independence and repeatedly shown they will not tolerate anyone who seeks to drag their country backwards.

The entire world now clearly sees Putin’s intentions – it was never about genuine security concerns, but about protecting a corrupt, authoritarian worldview, and forcing that system on a peaceful neighboring country. Putin’s actions betray this sinister vision for the future of the world – one where nations take what they want by force, and prey on and seek to exploit their neighbors simply because they can. His vision is affecting the foundation of the international order not only in Europe, but in Asia.

Nations across the world will rally to oppose this vision and we will emerge stronger, more united, more determined, and more purposeful. Putin’s actions against Ukraine will come at considerable cost to Russia. Putin will not be able to extinguish the forces of liberty, democracy, and human dignity; they will endure. Make no mistake, freedom will prevail, and so will Ukraine.

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