Min Aung Hlaing visits Russia after UN calls to ‘prevent flow of arms’ to Myanmar

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing meets Secretary of Security Council of Russian Federation and Director General of Rosoboronexport Company.
Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing meets Secretary of Security Council of Russian Federation and Director General of Rosoboronexport Company.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing is currently in Russia for a three-day security conference, according to Myanmar state media, just days after the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling to “prevent flow of arms” to Myanmar.

Min Aung Hlaing met with a top Russian official on Monday where they committed to improving bilateral relations between the countries, according to a statement by the Russian Security Council. The commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw also met with Alexander A. Mikheev, director general of Rosoboronexport.

Rosonboronexport is the exclusive state-controlled special exporter of military and double-purpose products, technologies and services, according to their website.

Russia and China, both UN Security Council members, have blocked repeated attempts by the UN’s most powerful body to take any meaningful action against the Myanmar military. Russian Deputy Minister of Defence Alexander Fomin attended Myanmar’s Armed Forces Day celebrations, a high level visit that signaled Russia’s support for the military junta.

On Saturday, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the coup, called on the State Administrative Council to “immediately stop all violence against peaceful demonstrators,” and called on the body to “prevent flow of arms.”

State media MRTV denounced the resolution on Saturday, rejecting the condemnation against the military coup, the proposed halt to flow of arms, and the statement given by Myanmar ambassador to the UN, Kyaw Moe Tun.

After the resolution passed 119 in favour to 1 against (Belarus), with 36 abstentions, Kyaw Moe Tun expressed disappointment that it took three months for any action to be taken by the UN General Assembly and urged “strong, decisive action” from the international community and the UN Security Council without delay.

Kyaw Moe Tun famously broke from the Myanmar military junta late February when he strongly rebuked the military coup in an emotional plea to the world during an UN General Assembly address where he famously raised the three finger salute, a symbol now synonymous with pro-democracy movements in Southeast Asia. The SAC fired him shortly afterwards and charged him with high treason for speaking out against their political takeover.

Myanmar-Russian relations began in the 1950s with a particular focus on military purchases and training. After China, Russia is the second-largest supplier of arms, accounting for 16 percent of weapons sales to the country. Myanmar military brass have also traveled to Russia to receive training at Russian military academies.

READ MORE: #MyanmarRejectsAsean: Myanmar’s National Unity Government, protesters echo growing disillusionment with bloc

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