The United States imposed new sanctions against Myanmar on Tuesday, a day before the Southeast Asian nation observed the second anniversary of a military coup followed by a deadly crackdown against anti-regime groups.
The US Treasury sanctioned Myanmar Energy Minister Myo Myint Oo and the two highest-ranking officers of the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.
It also sanctioned Htun Aung, the chief of the Myanmar Air Force; Hla Swe, a former military officer who, according to the Treasury, distributes arms to pro-regime militias; and Htoo Htwe Tay Za, the daughter of a businessman whose giant Htoo Group works closely with the Myanmar military.
In addition, the Treasury sanctioned two state-owned mining businesses and the military-controlled Union Election Commission.
Myanmar's junta put doubt on its announced plan to hold new elections, stating that the country had "not returned to normalcy," prompting Canada and the United Kingdom also to announce sanctions.
On Tuesday, the military-dominated National Defense and Security Council stated that junta opponents, including the anti-coup People's Defense Forces and the shadow National Unity Government, had attempted to capture "state power through unrest and violence."
The report stated those "who seek the destruction of the state" continue their operations.
On February 1, 2021, the military seized power, ousting the democratically elected government and removing U Win Myint and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from office.
"Over the past two years, the military has continued to use violence and repression to prevent the [Myanmar] people from choosing their leaders," the Treasury said.
The junta "has used its military aircraft to conduct aerial bombings and other attacks against pro-democracy forces, killing and displacing civilians in the process," according to the report.