Monday, 8 August, 2022

Russia's Lavrov to visit Myanmar

Russia's Lavrov to visit Myanmar

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Myanmar on Wednesday for meetings with the conflict-wracked country's junta leaders, his ministry said.

As Moscow's ties with the West unravel over the intervention in Ukraine, the Kremlin is seeking to pivot the country towards the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

"Talks are planned with the foreign minister and with the Myanmar leadership," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Tuesday.

She added that defence and security cooperation would be on the agenda among other topics.

Russia and its ally China have been accused of arming Myanmar's junta with weapons used to attack civilians since last year's coup.

More than 1,500 civilians have been killed in a military crackdown since the coup on February 1, 2021.

Last week, the announcement of the junta's execution of four democracy activists was condemned by the UN Security Council in a rare consensus on the post-coup crisis.

The statement was endorsed by Russia and China -- the junta's two allies that have previously shielded it at the UN.

Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing was in Moscow on a "private" visit in July and reportedly met officials from Moscow's space and nuclear agencies.

In July, Lavrov visited Egypt, Congo-Brazzaville, Uganda and Ethiopia.