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Russia entered a diplomatic vacuum after the Myanmar coup

Russia entered a diplomatic vacuum after the Myanmar coup

The Myanmar military junta celebrated Armed Forces Day in the capital Naypyidaw with a flight of tanks, missiles and military aircraft, including Russian MiG-29 fighter jets.

Seven Asian countries sent low-profile delegations to an event last week organized by coup leader Min Aung Hlaing. But the senior official who attended was further away: Alexander Fomin, Russia’s deputy defense minister.

It’s Russia striving for a diplomatic gap leaving the other major powers in the world, they wanted to commit to the junta that took power on February 1 from the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and discussed the extent to which. Moscow’s stance echoes President Bashar al-Assad’s 2015 decision to provide military support to the Parisian region of Syria, helping to spark the tide of civil war in favor of the dictator.

“In terms of looks, yes, it’s the big finger in the middle west:‘ We can do whatever we want, ’” said Alexander Gabuev, Russia’s president of the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. to send a high charge to Naypyidaw.

As Min Aung Hlaing surveyed his troops last weekend, it is estimated 169 people he killed the regime, including at least 14 children, a nurse and troops by gunfire and a Mandalay snack vendor, according to local media.

The conflict has shown signs of spreading internationally in recent days, such as refugees Karen fled an airstrike in an area of ​​eastern Myanmar controlled by an ethnic militia to escape to Thailand. Three other armed minority groups said they intended to join what they called a “spring revolution” in Myanmar’s cities if the military did not stop its killing, according to Reuters.

Protests against the coup have continued, although a large part of the international community has condemned the intensified military repression © STRINGER / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

“Myanmar can easily fail in a few states, with violent urban unrest, escalating ethnic conflicts based on ethnicity and a widespread humanitarian emergency,” said historian and author Thant Myint-U. “The economy is in free fall, eliminating the lives and lives of tens of millions of people.”

Russia’s decision to deal openly with the government over time was an opportunistic decision by Russia, largely driven by opportunities to increase arms sales, analysts said. But Moscow has less to lose than its Asian neighbors in Myanmar as a result of escalating civil strife.

“Myanmar is not on the threshold of Russia, so they don’t have to worry and they don’t have to deal with the refugee crisis,” said Hervé Lemahieu, director of the Lowy Institute’s Power and Diplomacy Program. Australian think-tank.

Moscow’s ties to Myanmar date back to the country’s former military regime and continued into the decade of democracy. Russia has been tightening political and economic relations with Asian countries since Western sanctions were targeted after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.

Fomin has long-standing ties with Myanmar officials for his work as head of the military and technical cooperation department of the defense ministry. He helped sell some of the Russian hardware on display at the Armed Forces parade.

Russia is Myanmar’s second-largest supplier after China, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, according to the think tank. The Myanmar army is waiting for six advanced Sukhoi Su-20 aircraft ordered in 2019 and the two sides signed a Russian air defense system and a set of tactical surveillance drones in January, according to the Center for Strategy and Technology Analysis. Moscow Defense Workshop.

Bar chart of the value of the Joamana indicator * (2010-20, $ bn) Major arms exporters to Myanmar

“They see an opening here to the detriment of China and others to increase their market share,” Gabuev said. “Even if there is a democratic government in the future, the more you sell, the more you block the armed forces from training programs and additional sales.”

Moscow’s commitment to Myanmar also underscores the confusion and mixed messages that have emerged from the wider international community since the coup.

The U.S. has been the most outspoken in accusing the junta of taking power, imposing sanctions on senior military officials and their businesses. Washington also froze a trade deal with Myanmar this week. Japan, Myanmar’s largest aid provider, extended the new development aid his foreign minister called a “clear stance” on that.

However, India and China, Myanmar’s big neighbors, have been more reserved in their public statements and have sent delegates to a military parade.

Beijing, which had good relations with the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been particularly careful in its public stance after sparking widespread anti-Chinese sentiment among protesters against the coup.

Beijing’s strongest statements were made last month after the Foreign Ministry expressed concern about the “safety of Chinese institutions and workers” after the opening of several clothing factories in Yangton.

The junta will look for new business partners in Russia and elsewhere as more sanctions are imposed. investors withdraw and lines of credit dry up. “We are waiting for your employers,” Min Aung Hlaing told the editor of the Russian delegation to the Moscow newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Analysts say Moscow has made an early bet on what it believes is the winning party.

“Russia is at stake when the army prevails,” Thant Myint-Uk said. “It is a low-risk bet, because Russia has little to lose if Myanmar goes down to the civil war, but if the army maintains power, Moscow will have a new friend in the Indian Ocean.”

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