|Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Myanmar's Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing walk past the honour guard prior to their talks in Moscow, Russia June 22, 2021. Picturewas takenn June 22, 2021. (Photo by=Vadim Savitskiy/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Handout via REUTERS)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] MOSCOW: Last Tuesday (Jun 22), Myanmar's junta chief thanked Russia, a major weapons supplier to the troubled Southeast Asian country, for strengthening the army which seized power in a coup earlier this year. Russia has backed its ally and warned the West against sanctioning the junta.
"Thanks to Russia, our army has become one of the strongest in the region," Russian news agency TASS cited Min Aung Hlaing as telling Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu during a meeting in Moscow. The friendship between Russia and Myanmar is becoming "stronger and stronger", the junta leader said, according to his comments translated into Russian. "Myanmar for us is a time-tested strategic partner and reliable ally," Shoigu said, adding that military cooperation is an "important component" of Russia-Myanmar relations.
Meanwhile, Min Aung Hlaing is in Moscow for a three-day international security conference that kicked off Tuesday and brings together defense officials from across the globe. It’s the junta chief's second known trip abroad since he seized power. Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) government in February. The junta's brutal crackdown on dissent has left at least 870 civilians dead, according to a local monitoring group.