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Sri Lankan airlines forced to suspend flights to Russia

Western sanctions have forced Sri Lanka’s national airlines to suspend flights to Russia due to difficulties in international financial transactions and western insurers refusing to cover for flights to Russia.

The move comes as Sri Lanka faces one of its worst financial crises in modern history and is heavily reliant on its tourism industry for its recovery. Prior to the pandemic, an estimated 200,000 visitors would visit Sri Lanka in February. This year, the number was just 96,507. Leading the way, however, were Russian tourists, who made up 15,340 arrivals followed by India with 12,744, UK 10,642, Germany 7,740 and Ukraine 5,620.

Read more here: Russian tourists lead the way in Sri Lanka, including an oligarch or two

“The restrictions are in the form of international financial and aircraft insurance limits which have been imposed on Russia due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and directly impact SriLankan Airlines’ flight operations to Russia,” Sri Lankan Airlines reported.

Despite growing calls for Sri Lanka to condemn Russian aggression, Sri Lankan officials have instead sought to deepen ties with the rogue state with Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister meeting with a senior Russian official and requesting a US$ 300 million Credit Line.

Read Sri Lankan Airlines' statement here.

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

‘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’

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