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US Imposes Sanctions on Myanmar’s Defence Ministry and Banks

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US Sanctions Target Myanmar’s Defence Ministry and Banks

The United States has placed sanctions on Myanmar’s defence ministry and two banks used by the military regime to procure arms and goods from foreign sources. Washington accuses the military of relying on foreign entities, including sanctioned Russian entities, to support its repressive actions.

Defence Ministry and Banks Under Sanctions for Arms Purchases

The US Treasury Department announces sanctions on Myanmar’s defence ministry, the state-owned Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB), and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB). These entities facilitated the purchase of arms, equipment, and raw materials to sustain the military’s brutal repression.

Allegations of Over $1bn in Imports Since the Coup

Washington accuses Myanmar’s defence ministry of importing goods worth at least $1bn since the 2021 coup, which saw the military seize power from the democratically elected government. The sanctions target the military’s ability to access international markets and purchase weapons, materials, and equipment.

Sanctioned Banks Enabling State-Owned Enterprises

MFTB and MICB, both state-owned banks, are hit with sanctions for providing access to international markets for revenue-generating state-owned enterprises like Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise. These banks play a role in receiving and transmitting foreign currencies.

US Condemns Military’s Repression and Violence

The US Treasury’s undersecretary for “terrorism” and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, denounces Myanmar’s military regime for leveraging international markets and imports to continue their violence and oppression. The sanctions aim to restrict the military’s ability to perpetuate their repressive actions.

Potential Impacts and Reactions

The sanctions on Myanmar’s defence ministry and banks could have financial consequences for countries in the region, including Thailand. Experts suggest the sanctions may hamper the military’s funding for conflicts with ethnic groups.

Myanmar’s military regime downplays concerns about the sanctions, while critics call for strong enforcement to cut off the regime’s access to foreign currency.


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