Russia to Deepen Defense Cooperation with Myanmar

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Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.
Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Russia and Myanmar are to strengthen their defense cooperation following a meeting in Moscow between Myanmar’s military leader, Min Aung Hlaing, and top Russian defense officials.

A statement by Russia’s Ministry of Defense said that the meeting took place on Monday, with Hlaing in Moscow for a private visit.

“On 11 July, senior officials of the Russian defense ministry held a meeting with Chairman of Myanmar’s State Administration Council and Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who arrived in Russia on a private visit,” the ministry was quoted as saying by TASS.

“The sides positively assessed the dynamically developing mutually beneficial relations in the military sphere and reiterated their plans to efficiently use the existing potential to strengthen military and military-technical cooperation in the spirit of strategic partnership,” the statement said.

Myanmar’s military administration has detained thousands of pro-democracy protestors since seizing power in a coup in February last year.

While the United Nations has said its investigations show that the Myanmar military has committed mass killings and crimes against humanity, the junta says it is seeking to restore peace and order.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday asked Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders to apply greater pressure on Myanmar to restore peace and democracy during a meeting in Bangkok.

ASEAN adopted a five-point consensus during an emergency meeting held in Jakarta last year expected to pave the way for an end to the violence, however, over a year later critics have said more needs to be done to hold Myanmar accountable.