Bangkok, Jul 7 (EFE).- A Russian military delegation secretly visited Myanmar in June, a week before the Burmese military chief and head of the junta Aung Hlaing carried out a visit to Moscow, local media outlet Myanmar Now claimed in an exclusive report on Wednesday.
According to the report, the delegation was in the country between Jun. 13-19 and consisted of 20 Russian representatives, including the deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian navy, Vladimir Lvovich Kasatonov and a representative of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned defense export firm.
No state media outlets in either Russia or Myanmar reported the visit, which mainly included Russian navy officers.
Russia, which has not openly condemned the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar, is one of the biggest weapons suppliers to the southeast Asian country as well as among its biggest allies after the military uprising.
During his Moscow visit, Min Aung Hlaing had met Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and also visited Rosoboronexport facilities.
“Our Army has become one of the strongest in the region thanks to the Russian Federation,” Min Aung Hlaing said after thanking Shoygu for helping his country with weapons, Russian state news agency TASS reported at the time.
Russia was among a group of nations along with China, India, Venezuela, Cuba, Thailand and Cambodia that last month opposed a resolution backed by 119 countries in the United Nations General Assembly demanding an end to violence in Myanmar and an arms embargo on the junta,
On Tuesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov backed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as a possible mediator in the Myanmar crisis.
“We reiterated our strong support for the the ASEAN’s five principles,” he said in a press conference in Jakarta alongside his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi.
In April, ASEAN – which includes Myanmar as a member – approved a five-point consensus to resolve the crisis that includes an end to violence, dialog between all the parties and mediation by an envoy of the bloc.