UN official says Russia, China arming Myanmar with jets targeting civilians

China's People's Liberation Army showing has engaged in several shows of military might in recent weeks. Picture: Mark Schiefelbein/AP. Source: AP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, Feb 23, 2022, Reuters. A United Nations official said Russia and China have been giving weapons to Myanmar such as fighter jets that have been targeting civilians. The discovery was made on Tuesday by Thomas Andrews, a U.N. human rights expert on Myanmar who is also a former Democratic U.S. congressman, Reuters reported.

In a report, Andrews said that Russia, China and Serbia have been giving weapons to Myanmar since the military coup last year with “full knowledge that they would be used to attack civilians.”

The report states that China has given fighter jets to Myanmar. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, dodged questions over the accusations at a press conference.

China “has always advocated that all parties and factions should proceed in the long-term interests of the country” and “resolve contradictions through political dialogue,” Wang said.

Serbia denied allegations from the report that it was giving rockets and artillery shells to the junta, according to Reuters.

The nation’s foreign ministry said that following the coup, Serbia has “examined the new situation very carefully and in March last year made a decision not to deliver weapons to this country either under previously concluded agreements or new export requests.”

The report accuses Russia of giving two types of fighter jets and two armored vehicles, with one that is equipped with air defense systems and drones. Russia has not commented on the issue yet.

“It should be incontrovertible that weapons used to kill civilians should no longer be transferred to Myanmar,” Andrews said, noting the international community can do more to stop military rule in Myanmar.

“If revenues necessary to maintain such a military are reduced, the junta’s capacity to assault and terrorise the people of Myanmar will diminish,” he added, Reuters noted.

The military has killed and jailed thousands since its Feb. 1 coup in 2021, when it overthrew the transitional democratic government.

State Department Counselor Derek Chollet said at the beginning of February that the U.S. is not finished with sanctions it will impose on Myanmar and the military.

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