Sri Lanka to send delegation to Russia to help repatriate men duped into Ukraine fighting

Sri Lanka to send delegation to Russia to help repatriate men duped into Ukraine fighting

A senior official announced on Thursday ( May 16 ) that Sri Lanka will send a high-level delegation to Russia to look into the fate of hundreds of citizens who are alleged to be fighting in the Ukrainian conflict.

The Defence Ministry has warned its citizens against being duped by WhatsApp-based social media campaigns targeting ex-military staff with promises of profitable salaries and citizenship.

The emails, sent by Sri Lankan citizens, offer a variety to officials, who then handle the paperwork and the flights.

The campaigns have been well-liked as Sri Lanka struggles to recover from its worst economic crisis in more than a decade, which has caused hundreds of people to flee and caused poverty rates to double from pre-pandemic amounts.

Earlier this month, Sri Lankan government launched investigations into accounts of its members, mainly with military education, being trafficked to fight in the war in Ukraine, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya.

” The main issue is figuring out how many people there are in Russia. As per illegal options, about 600- 800 Sri Lankan people are in Russia”, he told investigators.

Russia’s Embassy in Colombo did not respond to a request for comment right away, and in the past, Moscow has refused to respond to Reuters ‘ repeated requests for comment on this matter.

Sri Lanka’s officials have received 288 problems from family members of immigrants who had left improperly to fight in Ukraine and have arrested seven people, including a retired big general, linked to the human trafficking, according to the island world’s defence ministry.

At least 16 retired military officers have died in Ukraine, the department said.

Kamal Gunaratne, the defense minister of Sri Lanka, and a former Russian adviser will be among the delegations who will soon travel to Russia, according to Balasuriya.

Sri Lanka finally ended a 26-year legal war between dissident Tamil rebels and government forces in 2009. Some Sri Lankan military officers retired from active duty following the conflict.