Ukraine arms transfers to Myanmar are enabling the junta’s terror

September 9, 2021

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September 8, 2021, Myanmar: Ukraine is continuing to transfer arms to the Myanmar military, despite its illegitimate coup and ongoing mass killings, arrests and attacks against civilians.

Justice For Myanmar demands Ukraine impose an immediate arms embargo on Myanmar and cut ties with the Myanmar military. Justice For Myanmar calls on providers of military aid to Ukraine, notably the US, EU and UK, to use their leverage to ensure Ukraine abides by international law and norms.

An investigation by Justice For Myanmar, using Ukrainian export records and newly leaked documents, found shipments of aircraft, ship and tank parts dating from 2015 onwards. Air surveillance radars were also sent to the Myanmar military and private Myanmar arms dealers. The most recent shipment was turbojet engine parts that Ukrainian firm Motor Sich sent to the Myanmar army’s directorate of procurement. This was on 31 May 2021, as the air force increased indiscriminate airstrikes in ethnic areas.

Of particular concern is a joint project to produce BTR-4 armoured personnel carriers, MMT-40 light tanks and 2SIU self-propelled howitzers involving Ukrainian state-owned arms conglomerates Ukroboronprom and Ukrspecexport with the Myanmar army’s directorate of defence industry. The project provides an alarming boost to the Myanmar military’s arms manufacturing capabilities. This equipment fuels the Myanmar military’s war crimes and crimes against humanity, and can provide a future source of revenue to the military through arms exports.

The arms production plant was named by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in 2019, which recommended arms transfer sanctions. Ukraine has so far failed to implement the Mission’s recommendations.

Ukroboronprom and Ukrspecexport did not respond to questions from Justice For Myanmar regarding their business with the Myanmar military and the status of the joint plant. Asked by Deutsche Welle if they will stop cooperating with the Myanmar military following the attempted coup, a spokesperson for Ukroboronprom responded that they export in accordance with Ukrainian law and international obligations, noting that Ukraine has not imposed sanctions or an arms embargo on Myanmar. That is despite Ukraine voting in favour of a June 2021 UN General Assembly resolution to stop the flow of arms to Myanmar.

Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “Ukraine is enabling and profiting from atrocity crimes in Myanmar through its deep ties to the Myanmar military, flouting international law. Ukraine’s providers of military aid, such as US, EU and UK, must use their leverage now to end Ukraine’s support for the Myanmar military and its blatant disregard for the lives of the people of Myanmar. Military aid must be conditional on Ukraine imposing an arms embargo on Myanmar, shutting down their joint plant and ending all military ties. Ukraine’s arms sales have fuelled a shadow industry of Myanmar companies profiteering from the arms trade and enabling the military’s access to the weaponry it uses in ongoing atrocity crimes. Individuals and companies procuring arms for the Myanmar military must be sanctioned immediately and denied access to the international financial system and global markets, including in Singapore, where some arms dealers operate.”

Myanmar’s biggest arms dealer for Ukraine is Aung Hlaing Oo, who has been rewarded through his appointment as Ukraine’s honorary consul to Myanmar. Ukraine must remove him from this position.

In total, Justice For Myanmar documented 37 individuals linked to 13 companies that should be sanctioned for procuring arms and related materiel for the Myanmar military. Details have been published separately in an Excel file here.

Note to editors

See our web feature, Ukraine is arming the Myanmar military.

See a list of entities and individuals for targeted sanctions in relation to arms sales from Ukraine.

Justice For Myanmar, a group of covert activists campaigning for justice and accountability for the people of Myanmar, is calling for an end to military business and for federal democracy and a sustainable peace.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Yadanar Maung

Email: media@justiceformyanmar.org

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