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Military proxy party USDP cozies up to Russia; EU tightens sanctions on junta officials

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Military proxy party USDP cozies up to Russia

The chairperson of the military-proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) met with Russia’s Ambassador to Burma Nikolay Listopadov. Khin Yi announced on Facebook that the meeting was held on Feb. 20 at the USDP headquarters in Naypyidaw. He said that they discussed increased cooperation between Burma and Russia, and mentioned “the future young generation.”

EU tightens sanctions on junta officials

The European Union enacted more sanctions on Burma Army officials and arms brokers on Feb. 20. Those sanctioned include Hlaing Oo, the chairperson of Myanmar Chemical and Machinery Company Ltd, General Moe Aung, the Commander-in-Chief of the Burma Navy, Gen Maung Maung Aye, the Chief of General Staff of the Burma military. It includes Myo Myint Aung, the junta’s Economic Affairs Minister of Yangon Region, and General Zin Min Htet, the Vice-Minister for Home Affairs and Chief of Police. Two arms brokers, Sit Taing Aung and Kyaw Min Oo, were included. Three companies that helped purchase weapons for the junta – Dynasty, International Gateways Group, and Sky Aviator – were also sanctioned. Ninety-three individuals and 18 organizations in Burma have been sanctioned by the EU. 

Junta claims to arrest scammers that defrauded KBZ bank users

Regime media claimed that the junta arrested five Nigerians and six Burmese nationals who fraudulently withdrew Regime media claimed that five Nigerians and six Burmese were arrested for fraud on Feb. 12. Two KBZ bank account users in Yangon reported to the police that K137 million ($60,425 USD) total was withdrawn from their accounts on Feb. 6 and 9. The suspects are said to have impersonated KBZ bank staff on social media and offered to upgrade the mobile banking accounts of users. They then obtained control of the victims’ accounts by asking for their phone numbers and log in codes to be able to access their mobile accounts.  

News by Region

CHIN—The Chinland Defense Force Hakha (CDF Hakha) announced on Feb. 20 that two soldiers from the Burma Army’s 269th Light Infantry Battalion in Thantlang Township defected to the CDF. The two brought firearms, ammunition, and grenades, according to CDF Hakha. The defectors were given K3 million ($1,427 USD) and sent to a liberated area.  

KAREN—The Burma Army carried out two airstrikes in the Karen National Union’s (KNU) 6th Brigade, south of Kawkareik, on Feb. 20. There have been no reports of casualties as a result of the attacks, according to resistance groups. Fifty-seven airstrikes occurred in the KNU Brigade 6 area last month.

MAGWAY—The Thayet People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed that it killed eight Burma Army soldiers, including a police camp commander, in Thayet Township on Feb. 20. All were killed during a PDF raid on a police station.

SAGAING—Resistance forces attacked the Burma Army in front of the military-owned Myawaddy bank in Shwebo town on Feb. 19. “I heard they returned fire after the explosion, then the ambulance arrived. I also heard a soldier was killed in the attack,” a local said. The same bank was attacked on Feb. 11. 

Eight houses in Tamu town were sealed shut on Feb. 19, on accusations of the home owners having ties with resistance groups. Banners were posted on the front doors that read: “This building and land will be confiscated by the state as it is linked to terrorist organizations,” a local told DVB, “There were no people living in the sealed houses any more.” In Tamu, more than 20 homes have been sealed off, according to residents.  

YANGON—The Dagon Township Court fined Phyo Min Thein, former Chief Minister of Yangon K100,000 ($47.60 USD) for allegedly exercising improper influence on the Union Election Commission. Junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told BBC that the court issued the ruling on Feb. 17. Many officials of the ousted Nation League for Democracy (NLD) administration such as ousted president Win Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi received prison terms under similar charges. Phyo Min Thein testified against Suu Kyi during her corruption case. 

An administrator was shot in Sanchaung Township on Feb. 20, locals said. He was shot at Myanma Railway staff housing and was later sent to the hospital. “He is in critical condition,” a source close to the administration said.

A grenade was discovered by regime forces in Thiri Yadanar Wholesale Market, North Okkalapa Township. “They checked everything, even mobile phones. On Feb. 18, a young man was arrested.” An inspection took place in the Zaykabar industrial zone, located near the market. “It is ok if you come to the factories by ferry, but if you come by motorcycle or e-bike, you will face an inspection and have to answer a lot of questions,” said a woman working at a nearby factory.

The Burmese Rambler on his podcast, culture, religion and music. DVB English is on-demand via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Substack, SoundCloud, Spotify, Google, Anchor FM, TuneIn Radio & Apps.

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