The State Department says the United States is reviewing what actions they will take in response the the coup in Burma and the unrest in Russia following the sentencing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (Feb. 2)
NED PRICE: The United States is deeply concerned by the Burmese military's detention of civilian government leaders, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and civil society leaders. After a review of all the facts, we have assessed that the Burmese military's actions on February 1, having deposed the duly-elected head of government, constituted a military coup d'etat. The United States will continue to work closely with our partners throughout the region and the world to support respect for democracy and the rule of law in Burma, as well as to promote accountability for those responsible for overturning Burma's Democratic transition.
I don't think the military takeover-- the military coup-- is in the interest-- it's certainly not in our interest. It's certainly not in the interests of our like-minded partners. I think you will also find that it's not in the interest of the Chinese.
So our first concern, of course, is the restoration of civilian leadership in Burma. Our concern, consistent with that, is ensuring that as we undertake this review-- now that we have determined that a coup was taken place on February 1, that civilian-led government has been deposed by the military, our first concern, as we do that review, will be to ensure that of the $135 million we contribute annually to the people of Burma, that we don't do anything that would affect the long-suffering people of Burma, including the Rohingya.
When it comes to additional sanctions against the Burmese military, as President Biden has said, the United States will take action against those responsible, including through a careful review of our current sanctions posture. So it's something we're closely reviewing. When it comes to Russia, we are undertaking-- the president has directed his DNI to undertake this review, precisely so that we can have a holistic picture of what the Russians have been up to in recent years so that we can ensure that our policy options, which would include sanctions, but not necessarily be the extent of it, are calibrated appropriately.
We are going to look very carefully at the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia, what has happened with Mr. Navalny specifically, what has happened with the mass detentions of those who have bravely taken to the streets in the aftermath of Mr. Navalny's arrest. And of course, all of that we will account for in determining an appropriate policy course.