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Bankrupt Sri Lanka asks Putin for fuel, tourists

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 Bankrupt Sri Lanka asks Putin for fuel tourists
Bankrupt Sri Lanka asks Putin for fuel, tourists

1 Sri Lanka has asked Russia to provide fuel and resume tourist flights to help the country overcome its unprecedented economic crisis, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Wednesday.

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3 The island nation has suffered months of blackouts, runaway inflation and critical shortages of food and gasoline after running out of hard currency to finance imports.

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4 Rajapaksa said he had spoken with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to borrow urgently needed fuel supplies and to “humbly” request the resumption of flights between Moscow and Colombo.

5 “We unanimously agreed that strengthening bilateral relations in sectors such as tourism, trade and culture was essential to reinforce the friendship that our two nations share.”

6 Aeroflot suspended flights last month after a Sri Lankan court briefly detained an Airbus belonging to the state carrier’s fleet over a payment dispute.

7 Both the United States and the European Union have imposed embargoes on Russian oil in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

8 Sri Lanka had bought around 90,000 tonnes of Siberian crude in May through a broker in Dubai, but ran out of dollars to buy more.

9 Russia and Ukraine were among the main sources of tourists to Sri Lanka before the conflict began in February.

10 Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic downturn since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.

11 The government defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and is in bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund.

12 European nations, Australia and the United States have asked their citizens to avoid traveling to Sri Lanka due to the deepening crisis.

13 The country has almost completely run out of gasoline and diesel, with schools and non-essential government offices ordered closed in an effort to conserve limited fuel supplies.

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