TOPIC BRIEFS

Addressing the Myanmar coup d'état

The Russo-Ukrainian War

A new session of parliament was about to begin when the coup occurred. The military had backed the opposition, which was calling for a rerun of the election, claiming widespread fraud. The military has taken control and declared a one-year state of emergency. It seized power on 1 February, following a landslide victory by Ms Suu Kyi's NLD party in a general election. Since the coup, Ms Suu Kyi has been held in an undisclosed location. She is accused of breaking the country's official secrets act and publishing information that could "cause fear or alarm". Min Aung Hlaing, the military commander-in-chief, has seized office. He has long wielded significant political power, successfully maintaining the Tatmadaw's (Myanmar military's) power as the country transitioned to democracy. For his alleged role in the military's attacks on ethnic minorities, he has faced international condemnation and sanctions. The coup has sparked the largest protests since the so-called Saffron Revolution in 2007, when thousands of monks took to the streets to protest the military regime. Teachers, lawyers, students, bank officers, and government employees are among the protesters. The military has imposed restrictions such as curfews and gathering restrictions. To disperse protesters, security forces have used water cannons, rubber bullets, and live ammunition. More than 100 people were killed on March 27, 2021, the deadliest day since the coup.

In 2014, Russia and Ukraine engaged in large-scale combat. Since then, there have been a few prisoner swaps. The conflict has claimed the lives of over 13,000 people. So far in 2021, Ukraine claims 26 of its troops have died in Donbas, compared to 50 in all of 2020. More than 20 separatists are said to have died in 2021. However, multiple sources have recently reported large Russian military movements near the Ukrainian border in eastern Ukraine and into Crimea, which Russian forces annexed from Ukraine in March 2014. Many of these reports, such as reports from Jane's intelligence information group about Iskander short-range missiles, have surfaced. The Kremlin has remained quiet about the situation. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that moving troops across Russian territory was an "internal matter." Some troops, including those in Crimea, have been training. Mr Peskov, on the other hand, accused Ukraine of staging "provocations." According to Ukrainian intelligence sources, the additional forces will consist of 16 battalion tactical groups, totaling up to 14,000 soldiers. Russia now has about 40,000 troops on the eastern border and another 40,000 in Crimea, according to the Ukrainian presidency. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused Nato of "threatening" actions on April 13, 2021, and said Russia had responded to this by sending two armies and three airborne formations to its western borders to conduct “exercises”. He didn't provide any specific figures or locations.

The Question of the Tigray war in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian government and its allies have shown no signs of withdrawing military forces from the Tigray region months after launching an offensive in northern Ethiopia that has killed thousands of people, displaced millions, and led to accusations of atrocities such as ethnic cleansing. Despite concerns about the ability to hold a fair election amid the Tigray war and other conflicts, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who ordered the offensive in early November, has scheduled elections for June 5. His government has designated the Tigray People's Liberation Front, a political and military foe, as a terrorist organization, and there have been reports of thousands of

ethnic Tigrayans being held in detention without charge throughout Ethiopia, mostly soldiers and police but also civilians. The conflict has heightened ethnic tensions and triggered a massive humanitarian and political crisis that has engulfed neighboring countries and threatens to destabilize the Horn of Africa as a whole. According to UN and local officials, more than 5 million people, or the vast majority of Tigray's population, require immediate assistance. More than 63,000 people have fled to Sudan, with an estimated 1 million to 2 million people displaced from their homes. In late May 2020, UN officials warned that the conflict had brought parts of Tigray dangerously close to famine as a result of the war. They warn that unless international relief convoys have unrestricted access, many Tigray residents will starve within months. However, since the beginning of the conflict, the Ethiopian federal government has strictly controlled access to the Tigray region, limiting UN aid to Tigray residents due to the conflict at hand.