Russia and Myanmar junta leader commit to boosting ties at Moscow meeting


FILE PHOTO: Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev attends a World War Two Victory Day anniversary parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council, and Myanmar's junta leader committed to further strengthening security and other ties between the two countries at a Moscow meeting on Monday.

Myanmar's junta leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, flew to the Russian capital on Sunday to attend a security conference this week. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier on Monday said President Vladimir Putin would not be meeting Min Aung Hlaing, Interfax reported.

Rights activists have accused Moscow of legitimising Myanmar’s military junta, which came to power in a Feb. 1 coup. by continuing bilateral visits and arms deals.

Russia says it has a long-standing relationship with Myanmar and said in March it was deeply concerned by the rising number of civilian deaths in Myanmar.

Defence ties between the two nations have grown in recent years with Moscow providing army training and university scholarships to thousands of soldiers, as well as selling arms to a military blacklisted by several Western countries for alleged atrocities against civilians.

Myanmar's state-run MRTV devoted the first 10 minutes of its nightly newscast to a report of Min Aung Hlaing's Russia trip, from him being met by officials at the airport to his meeting with the Security Council.

It showed a smiling Min Aung Hlaing in a business suit, posing for pictures, shaking hands and exchanging gifts with members of the council before attending a ceremony at a Buddhist temple in Moscow.

The MRTV report said Min Aung Hlaing and Patrushev discussed cooperation between the two countries on security measures, Myanmar’s current affairs and agreed to maintain a good relationship between their two militaries.

(Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Maria Vasilyeva in Moscow and by Martin Petty; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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