Singapore to Impose Restrictions on Russian Financial and Crypto Transactions – Singapore will impose restrictions on some Russian financial transactions and crypto operations aimed at circumventing sanctions, in a rare move.
The decision comes amid official concerns that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a security danger to minor states around the world.
According to a veteran diplomat, Singapore is penalizing another country without the approval of the United Nations Security Council for the first time in decades. The South China Morning Post reported that the city state is planning to do so in response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying:
“This is not a theoretical principle for a small country like Singapore, but a hazardous precedent. As a result, Singapore has strongly criticized Russia’s unjustified aggression on Ukraine.”
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The department detailed the measures in an announcement published Saturday, stating that they include export controls on items that can be used for military purposes, as well as restrictions on doing business with certain Russian banks and non-bank entities, including Promsvyazbank, VTB Bank, Vnesheconombank, and Bank Rossiya. Their Singapore assets and funds would be frozen.
It will be prohibited to provide financial services to the Russian government, the central bank, or related entities in order to facilitate fund raising.
Some areas of the economies of the two breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which Russia opted to recognize as separate nations, would be subject to restrictions.
Furthermore, certain crypto flows may be impacted, as the ministry announced that payment service providers working with digital assets, such as NFTs, will be prohibited from assisting transactions that might be used to circumvent the regulations that apply to all other financial institutions.
The decision comes after Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told parliament on February 28 that Russia’s show of force threatens a world order that is “very antagonistic to the security and existence of small states,” according to the publication.
According to official figures from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Singapore’s trade with Russia was $3.7 billion last year. The island nation got only about 0.8 percent of its overall imports from the Russian Federation and Ukraine combined.
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The study also states that major banking institutions in Singapore have already begun to restrict trade financing for Russian raw commodities. This includes a ban on issuing U.S. currency for oil and liquefied natural gas trades.
Since the start of the military assault on Ukraine, sanctions have been rained down on Russia. The United States, the European Union, and their allies have imposed the majority of them.
Despite the majority of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) denouncing Russia’s attack at the United Nations, Singapore is now the only Southeast Asian country to take similar measures.