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U.S. sanctions Myanmar company for buying junta weapons from Russia, Belarus

The United States has sanctioned a Myanmar company, its founds and its directors for buying the junta weapons from Russia and Belarus. Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA-EFE
The United States has sanctioned a Myanmar company, its founds and its directors for buying the junta weapons from Russia and Belarus. Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA-EFE

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The United States on Thursday sanctioned a Myanmar company, its founders and director on accusations of abetting the military junta's ability to carry out human rights abuses by procuring it weapons from Russia and Belarus.

The Treasury Department identified Dynasty International Company Limited, its founders -- brothers Aung Moe Myint and Hlaing Moe Myint -- and its director, Myo Thitsar, for sanctions on Thursday following recent attacks by the military junta on civilian populations.

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"Today, we are targeting the support networks and war profiteers that enable weapons procurement for Burma's military regime," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement while referring to Myanmar by its other name.

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, seized control of Myanmar on Feb. 1, 2021, in a coup while arresting members of its civilian-elected government, including its leader, Dawn Aung San Suu Kyi, who has since been sentenced to more than 20 years imprisonment.

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Mass protests followed the coup but were met by a bloody crackdown, resulting in the deaths of nearly 2,340 people with another 15,770 arrested, according to figures Thursday from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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In applying the sanctions, the United States cited July's executions of well-known democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu, known as Ko Jimmy, and lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw as well as Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw.

It also referenced the Tatmadaw's Sept. 16 helicopter attack on a school that killed more than a dozen people, including 11 children.

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The Treasury described Aung Moe Myint as a Myanmar businessman whose son is an officer in the Tatmadaw.

Since the coup, Aung Moe Myint has purchased arms for the military and has used his company to procure armaments, missiles and aircraft.

His brother, Hlaing Moe Myint, and Thitsar were hit for their connection with the company.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday's sanctions "implicate" Myanmar's long ties to the militaries of Belarus and Russia, which also invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 with the assistance of Minsk.

"We will continue to use our sanctions authorities to target those in Burma and elsewhere supporting Russia's unlawful invasion of Ukraine, as well as Russia and Belarus' facilitation of the Burmese regime's violence against its own people," he said in a statement.

In a coordinated move, the State Department also designated former Myanmar police chief and deputy home affairs minister Than Hlaing for his involvement "in gross violations of human rights, namely the extrajudicial killing of peaceful protesters" in the wake of the military coup.

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