Myanmar’s Crisis & the World

US Hits Myanmar With New Sanctions on Second Anniversary of Coup

By AFP 1 February 2023

WASHINGTON—The US slapped fresh sanctions on Myanmar on Tuesday, a day before the Southeast Asian country marked the second anniversary of a military coup that has been followed by a violent crackdown on anti-regime forces.

The US Treasury placed sanctions on Myanmar junta Energy Minister Myo Myint Oo and the top two officials of the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.

It also placed sanctions on Myanmar Air Force chief Htun Aung; Hla Swe, a former military official who the Treasury said provides arms to pro-regime militias; and Htoo Htwe Tay Za, daughter of Tay Za, a businessman whose large Htoo Group works closely with the Myanmar military.

In addition, the Treasury sanctioned the military-controlled Union Election Commission and two state-owned mining companies.

The sanctions, announced in parallel with similar actions by Canada and Britain, came after Myanmar’s junta cast doubt on its announced plan to hold new elections, saying the country had “not returned to normalcy.”

Junta opponents, including anti-coup People’s Defense Forces and the shadow National Unity Government, had tried to seize “state power by means of unrest and violence,” the military-dominated National Defense and Security Council said Tuesday.

Those “who want utter devastation of the state are continuing their activities,” it said.

The military seized power on Feb. 1, 2021, overthrowing the democratically elected government and removing president U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from office.

“Over the past two years, the military has continued to use violence and oppression to deny the people of [Myanmar] the ability to choose their own leaders,” the Treasury said.

The junta “has used its military aircraft—with support from Russia in particular—to conduct aerial bombings and other attacks against pro-democracy forces, while simultaneously killing and displacing civilians,” it said.