While a Russian minister visited Myanmar for Armed Forces Day, security forces killed 114 peaceful protesters. His visit left observers wondering what Russia wanted to gain by strongly supporting the junta amid the bloodshed. But the timing was such that Russia, which never admits to anything, let alone apologise, felt the need to distance itself from Myanmar and sought to soften the damage to its image amid outrage over the deadly violence. Mr Putin’s spokesman said, ‘We are really worried by the growing number of civilian casualties. It is a source of deep concern. We are following Myanmar’s unfolding situation closely.’ The violence also challenges the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which must decide whether to stick to its principle of non-interference in members' internal affairs or not. China, which is the only nation against imposing sanctions on Myanmar, is influencing the situation for its own commercial and political advantage.