YANGON/WASHINGTON, June 24 (Bloomberg): The US imposed fresh sanctions on Myanmar’s defense ministry and two state-owned banks that it said facilitate transactions between the junta and overseas markets, including for weapons and military equipment from Russia.
The new restrictions, announced by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Wednesday, block all US-related transactions with the ministry, as well as with Myanma Foreign Trade Bank and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank.
The new sanctions are the latest in a series of actions against the generals that overthrew the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021.
In a statement, Treasury said Myanmar has relied on foreign sources, including from Russia "to purchase and import arms, dual-use goods, equipment, and raw materials to manufacture weapons.”
The military government, led by Min Aung Hlaing, has been struggling to stabilize an economy that contracted 18% last year and is now facing soaring inflation, a weakening currency and shrinking foreign-currency reserves.
Major General Zaw Min Tun, the junta’s top spokesman, said the US is pushing Myanmar toward an economic and political crisis, and that the new sanctions won’t hurt the economy because international banking services are also provided by local private banks and branches of foreign banks.
The US previously imposed sanctions on the two banks in 2003 when former military regime led by Than Shwe ruled Myanmar, but lifted them in 2016 during the civilian government’s term. - Bloomberg