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Russia’s invasion ‘may have contributed to the situation in Sri Lanka’ – US Secretary of State

Speaking to journalists in Thailand, US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, maintained that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have contributed to the crisis in Sri Lanka.

“I think we are seeing that impact around the world, and it may be one of the contributing factors to what’s happened in Sri Lanka, although I think there were, as I’ve just said, many others that have come together” Blinken stated.

He further added:

“What we are seeing around the world is growing food insecurity that has been significantly exacerbated by the Russian aggression against Ukraine […] there are more than 20 million tons of grain that are sitting in silos in Ukraine that can’t get out, can’t get out to feed people around the world because Russia is blockading Ukraine’s ports in Odessa, the Black Sea”.

Despite growing condemnation of Russia’s brutal invasion, Sri Lanka has increasingly deepened its ties with the Russian state to acquire fuel. Within the past few weeks, Sri Lanka’s President met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and spoke with Vladimir Putin over the phone about acquiring Russian fuel.

Read more on the growing ties between Russia and Sri Lanka below:

Desperate Sri Lanka looks to Russia for more oil, despite threat of sanctions

‘Overwhelming support for Sri Lanka’ – Colombo claims success at United Nations

Russia and Belarus rush to Sri Lanka’s defence at UN Human Rights Council

Russian tourists lead the way in Sri Lanka, including an oligarch or two

Sri Lanka abstains as UN overwhelming condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine

What are thermobaric and cluster bombs? A look at their use by the Sri Lankan army

As world slaps sanctions on Russia, Sri Lanka looks to deepen trade with Moscow

Sri Lanka ‘won’t take sides’ on Russia and Ukraine, as conflict intensifies

Putin and Rajapaksa exchange letters to celebrate ‘abiding friendship’

Blinken further condemned the violence of Sri Lankan police against “peaceful protestors and journalists” whilst also calling for a “full investigation, arrest, prosecution of anyone involved in any protest-related violence and incidents of violence”.

He further stressed that Sri Lankan government must “work quickly to try to identify and implement solutions that will bring back the prospect of long-term economic stability” and “address the Sri Lankan people’s discontent”.

Read Blinken's full remarks here

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