YANGON (AFP) – Russia’s foreign minister arrived in Myanmar on Wednesday (Aug 3) for talks with junta leaders, stopping off on his way to a regional meeting that has snubbed the military over its refusal to halt its bloody crackdown on dissent.

Mr Sergei Lavrov arrived at the military-built capital Naypyidaw “for a working visit”, Russia’s foreign affairs ministry said on Twitter.

He will meet the junta’s foreign minister and “the Myanmar leadership,” according to a ministry statement released ahead of the trip.

The junta has yet to comment on the visit by the top diplomat of one of its major allies and arms suppliers.

Mr Lavrov’s visit comes after the junta sparked renewed international outrage last week when it announced it had executed four prisoners, including a former lawmaker and a democracy activist, in the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades.

He is scheduled to travel on to an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) foreign ministers meeting in Cambodia from which the junta’s top diplomat has been excluded over its refusal to engage in dialogue with its opponents.

Russia and China have been accused of arming Myanmar’s junta with weapons used to attack civilians since last year’s coup.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing was in Moscow on a “private” visit in July and reportedly met with officials from Moscow’s space and nuclear agencies.