Sri Lanka’s war crimes accused president reportedly spoke over the phone to Russia’s war crimes accused president this week, as the two reportedly discussed how Moscow could send fuel to Colombo.
“President Gotabaya called the Russian President to import fuel from Russia,” lawmaker Mahindananda Aluthgamage told reporters this week.
The phone call comes after Gotabaya Rajapaksa sat down with Russia’s envoy to Sri Lanka, in the hope of obtaining much needed fuel as the island grapples with an economic crisis that has brought it to a standstill.
Shortages have led to a shutdown across the island, with only essential services allowed access to fuel. Rajapaksa’s conversation with Putin comes as reports of a high-level Sri Lankan delegation is on its way to Moscow in the hopes of securing a Russian fuel supply.
Earlier this year, Rajapaksa sent his “warm greetings and sincere felicitations” to Putin, adding “I wish to express my fervent desire to work closely with you to further consolidate and expand the existing solid partnership between our two countries in the years ahead”.
“Please accept, Excellency, my best wishes for your good health, happiness and personal well-being,” he concluded.
Just days after the letter was sent, Russia invaded Ukraine.
Despite growing calls for Sri Lanka to condemn Russian aggression, Sri Lankan officials have instead sought to deepen ties with the state, including seeking economic assistance and abstaining on votes regarding Ukraine at the United Nations.
Last year, senior Russian security officials visited Sri Lanka, whilst another accused Sri Lankan war criminal, army chief Shavendra Silva, was greeted by a military guard of honour on a visit to Moscow.
In 2020, Lavrov visited the island and pledged to supply Sri Lanka with “all the weapons they need”.
Read more on the growing ties between Russia and Sri Lanka below: