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Rights Advocates Slam Russia Over Myanmar Junta Chief’s Moscow Visit

Str / AFP

This week’s visit by Myanmar's junta chief to Moscow “legitimizes” the country’s “brutal and unlawful attempted coup,” Justice for Myanmar, a leading human rights group that investigates the military’s business interests, told The Moscow Times.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing arrived in Moscow on Sunday for a three-day international security conference starting Tuesday that brings together defense officials from around the world.

“We are appalled that Russia is hosting Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, a war criminal who continues to command the Myanmar military to commit atrocity crimes. The trip legitimizes Min Aung Hlaing’s brutal and unlawful attempted coup that has been rejected by the Myanmar people,” Justice for Mynamar told The Moscow Times in a statement. 

Myanmar has been engulfed in turmoil since its military overthrew the country’s democratically elected leadership in February. Over 860 protesters have been killed by the junta government in the wake of the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, another Myanmar-focused human rights group.

Min Aung Hlaing’s visit to Moscow comes as the two countries continue to deepen their military cooperation. Russia is the second-largest military exporter to Myanmar behind China. 

Last month Moscow hosted a military delegation led by Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Air Force Maung Maung Kyaw, while in March Russia’s Deputy Defense Secretary Alexander Fomin flew to Myanmar in what was the first high-profile visit to the country by a foreign official at the time.

On Friday, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on member states to "prevent the flow of arms" into Myanmar. Only Belarus voted against the resolution, while China, Russia and 34 other countries abstained. 

Justice for Myanmar urged Russia to abide by the UN General Assembly resolution, saying “the junta must be condemned by the international community, not reinforced through business dealings.” 

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