Minister Sabry meets Ambassador of Russian Federation regarding Sri Lankans in the Russia – Ukraine conflict

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –  On 29 May 2024 Foreign Minister Ali Sabry held a follow up discussion with Russian Ambassador Levan S Dzhagaryan relating to the urgent situation regarding the Sri Lankans engaged in the Russia – Ukraine conflict. This meeting was subsequent to the previous meeting held with the Russian Ambassador on 07 May 2024. 

 The Minister of Foreign Affairs informed the Russian Ambassador of the decision taken by H E President, Ranil Wickremesinghe to nominate a high-level delegation led by State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Tharaka Balasuriya to visit the Russian Federation to engage in discussions with the Russian authorities. The Minister of Foreign Affairs also informed Ambassador Dzhagaryan of the action taken by the Sri Lanka Embassy in the Russian Federation seeking the relevant appointments for the Sri Lanka delegation.  The Russian Ambassador shared the concerns of the Sri Lanka side regarding the welfare of its nationals and assured the Minister that all efforts will be made to facilitate the visiting delegation.

 The Minister of Foreign Affairs also informed the Russian Ambassador that a senior Foreign Service officer Ambassador P M Amza will assume duties with immediate effect as Charge d’Affaires of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Moscow.

 In view of the urgency of the situation, Ambassador Dzhagaryan expressed his support to work closely with Sri Lanka to resolve this matter.  As an immediate step, Ambassador Dzhagaryan informed that henceforth Russia will do more thorough visa interviews before the issuance of visit visas for ex-servicemen as it is observed that many of those who left for Russia have travelled on visit visas.  Minister Sabry also reiterated that Sri Lankan authorities have repeated their appeal to the public not to fall victim to human traffickers and to refrain from engaging with illegal channels of employment. 

 Prior to meeting the Russian Ambassador, the Foreign Minister also held a discussion with the families of Sri Lankans engaged as combatants in the Russia – Ukraine conflict in the presence of parliamentarians Dayasiri Jayasekara and Gamini Waleboda at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 28th May 2024 and expressed the Government’s commitment to ensuring their well-being and safe return.

 In parallel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reached out to the Ukraine authorities in discussing assistance, release and safe return of the Sri Lankans allegedly deployed in the Ukraine army.

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