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Accused war criminal Shavendra Silva welcomed in Moscow as both look to deepen military ties

Sri Lankan Army chief, Shavendra Silva was greeted by a military guard of honour on his visit to Moscow on 25 October. 

Silva is visiting Moscow on the invitation extended to him by the Commander-in-chief of the Russian Land Forces, General of the Army, Oleg Salyukov. Salyukov had visited Sri Lanka in February 2020 in which an open invitation was extended to the Sri Lankan Army Chief to visit the Russian Federation.

Silva during his visit is set to visit numerous military academies. During talks held between the two army chiefs, discussions for possible training slots for Sri Lankan service personnel and joint military exercises were held. Silva then went on to acknowledge the "Russian government's generous and timely technical and mechanical support, lent to Sri Lanka when the country was faced with threats of division before May 2009", according to the Sri Lankan army. 

The end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka saw tens and thousands of Tamil civilians killed by Sri Lankan state forces, during this period Russia had been a key exporter of arms to Sri Lanka, in which high-end military equipment was donated to the Sri Lankan government which particularly bolstered its naval capabilities.

Silva who is currently sanctioned by the US government stands credibly accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the final phases of the conflict. The accused war criminal was head of the notorious 58 Division during the conflict. Silva's experience as commander oversaw the unit commit grave violations of international law during a military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils. Under his command hospitals were repeatedly bombed and widespread sexual violence, torture and executions of surrendering Tamils occurred. 

Read more at Army.lk 

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