© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Members of the People’s Self-Defense Forces (PDF) turned guerrilla fighters after becoming protesters are seen on the front lines in Kawkareik, Myanmar, December 31, 2021. REUTERS/ Stringer
(Reuters) – The defense chief of Myanmar’s shadow government has called for international help to arm its resistance forces against the ruling army, asking for similar assistance. for the Ukrainians who were fighting the invading Russian army.
Yee Mon, Defense Minister of the Government of National Unity (NUG), said that the people of Ukraine and Myanmar’s pro-democracy militia are both fighting for freedom and giving their lives, but those who Joining Myanmar’s well-equipped military requires more than international solidarity.
“The position of the international community towards Myanmar is spiritual support for us and we are grateful for that. We would appreciate it much more if we received material support such as weapons. and funding,” he said in a handwritten note to Reuters.
“With that support, we will be able to end the revolution sooner, minimizing the loss of lives and their property.”
Western allies have equipped Ukraine with fighter jets to fend off the Russian invasion, which Moscow calls a “special operation”. Myanmar has been in turmoil since a coup early last year and the United Nations says more than 560,000 people have been displaced by fighting.
The NUG, a coalition of anti-government groups, declared a “war for the people’s defense” in the countryside last year to thwart the army’s efforts to consolidate power after a prolonged crackdown. months of pro-democracy protests. The authorities have declared the NUG “terrorists”.
The militia, which is mostly lightly armed, uses rudimentary rifles and homemade explosives against well-equipped troops, has been accused by the United Nations of using heavy weapons and other weapons. air strikes against civilians.
An army spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment.
The European Union’s delegation in Yangon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Yee Mon’s call.
A State Department spokesman said in an email that the United States continued to press the administration to end the violence and was working with partners to restore the country’s democratic path, but did not provide weapons or any form of military assistance to any group, individual or agency.
Yee Mon’s remarks came days after the NUG foreign minister, Zin Mar Aung, held meetings with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah in the United States, on the sidelines of a conference international summit.