Russia Reaffirms Support for Myanmar’s Junta After Execution of Activists

Russia Reaffirms Support for Myanmar’s Junta After Execution of Activists #Russia #Reaffirms #Support #Myanmars #Junta #Execution #Activists Welcome to Lopoid

SINGAPORE—Russian Foreign Minister

Sergei Lavrov

visited Myanmar for talks on Wednesday, the latest demonstration of the two countries’ close diplomatic ties as they both face Western condemnation.

Russia has emerged as one of the most-visible backers of Myanmar’s military junta that seized power in a coup last year. While the U.S. and many other Western democracies shun the military regime, Moscow has twice hosted coup leader Gen.

Min Aung Hlaing

for diplomatic meetings, including discussions on defense relations, and last year dispatched a senior defense official for a military event in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw. The junta in turn has voiced support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Lavrov’s visit comes as opposition to the junta has intensified since it executed four men, including two well-known democracy activists, last month. The U.S. called the executions reprehensible acts of violence, and repeated its appeal to all countries to ban sales of military equipment to Myanmar and to refrain from lending international credibility to the regime.

Russia is among Myanmar’s top arms suppliers, as is China. Both countries have veto power in the United Nations Security Council, which has faced calls from the U.N.’s human-rights rapporteur for Myanmar and opponents of the junta’s regime to impose an arms embargo. The Security Council hasn’t pursued such action.

The political situation in Myanmar is among a growing list of issues on which the U.S. is at odds with Russia and China. The coup ended Myanmar’s decadelong transition to democracy and triggered Western sanctions against military leaders and their businesses. The junta’s deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators led some to form an armed resistance movement, exacerbating conflict throughout the country. The military has been accused by human-rights groups of using Russian weapons and munitions against civilians.

Russia’s foreign ministry said Wednesday that Mr. Lavrov met with Myanmar’s foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, a junta appointee, before traveling to a regional forum in Cambodia. Russian state-run news agency TASS said ahead of the visit that Mr. Lavrov would meet Myanmar’s foreign minister and Gen. Hlaing to discuss cooperation on trade, economics, defense, security and humanitarian ties.

Myanmar’s junta hasn’t publicly commented on the visit.

Junta leader Gen. Hlaing attended a security conference in Russia in June 2021, and traveled to the country again in July this year, though he didn’t meet Russian President

Vladimir Putin

on either visit. During the recent trip, senior defense officials from both countries “exchanged views on further promotion of existing friendly relations,” according to Myanmar’s state-run news agency. Gen. Hlaing also met with representatives of Russia’s space and nuclear agencies and the U.S.-sanctioned head of a state-controlled arms export firm.

In March, soldiers and police in Myanmar killed dozens of people, a day when Myanmar’s commander in chief vowed in a speech “to protect people from all dangers.” The U.N.’s Human Rights office said it had received reports of scores of people killed and hundreds injured across 40 locations in the country. Photo: AP

High-level visits to Myanmar have been rare since the coup. In early July, the country hosted a regional forum joined by the foreign ministers of China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Chinese Foreign Minister

Wang Yi

said the friendship between China and Myanmar had “remained rock-solid and unbreakable without being affected by domestic changes in each other’s country,” according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement. His Myanmar counterpart voiced continuing support for China’s positions on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and human rights, the statement said.

Write to Feliz Solomon at feliz.solomon@wsj.com

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