Sunday, 24 September 2023

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Singapore MFA advises citizens to postpone travel to Russia and Ukraine amid rising unrest

Amid escalating tensions and incidents of violence in Russia’s southern region and Ukraine, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a statement, urging its citizens to postpone all non-essential travel to both countries.

These advisories were triggered by the increasingly unstable security situation in Russia, which has been hit by several episodes of violence in recent months.

The MFA believes the unrest could potentially spread to other regions of the country.

Instances of violence reported include shellings in the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, drone strikes in Moscow, and a bombing in Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has further complicated the situation, warranting Singaporeans to reconsider their travel plans to Ukraine as well.

The MFA also advised all Singaporean residents in Russia to avoid inter-state travel within the country for the time being, given the unpredictability of the situation.

Yesterday saw a significant development as Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the rebel Wagner mercenary force left Russia after calling off the advance of his troops, said Moscow. A move that has momentarily eased Russia’s most severe security crisis in decades.

The Kremlin confirmed within hours that Prigozhin would relocate to Belarus and face no charges, either for himself or his group members.

Prigozhin’s abrupt retreat comes after a violent clash with Russia’s military brass, where his forces seized a key army headquarters in southern Russia before heading north towards the capital.

In the face of these events, President Vladimir Putin warned against civil war, Moscow instructed locals to stay indoors, and Kyiv seemed to revel in the chaotic situation unfolding in Russia.

Singapore’s MFA is urging Singaporeans in Russia to remain vigilant, monitor local news closely, and take necessary precautions for their personal safety.

The MFA further requested Singaporean citizens in Russia to register with the ministry at immediately if they haven’t already done so.

For consular assistance, Singaporeans in Russia can reach out to the Singapore Embassy in Moscow at 7-499-241-37-02 during office hours or call its 24-hour emergency hotline on 7-906-009-00-69. They may also contact the MFA duty office through its round-the-clock telephone hotline: 6379-8800/8855.

As the situation remains fluid, Singaporeans are encouraged to stay informed and heed the advice from the MFA.

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