Sri Lanka is reportedly in its greatest economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948, and its president claims he has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to assist his cash-strapped country import fuel.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa claimed that his conversation with Vladimir Putin was “extremely beneficial.”
It follows the weekend warning from Sri Lanka’s energy minister that the nation would soon run out of gasoline.
Hundreds of protesters demonstrated against the government on Wednesday in Colombo, the country’s capital.
Regarding his call with the Russian leader, Mr. Rajapaksa tweeted, “I asked an offer of credit support to import petroleum.”
After the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot ceased services last month, Mr. Rajapaksa added that he had “humbly made a request” for flights between Moscow and Colombo to restart.
He continued, “We unanimously agreed that enhancing bilateral ties in areas like tourism, trade, and culture was essential to bolstering the affinity our two nations enjoy.
In order to help maintain fuel supply amid the crisis, the nation has already purchased oil from Russia in recent months. The government has indicated that it is eager to continue purchasing oil from the resource-rich nation.
In spite of Mr. Rajapaksa’s best efforts, Sri Lanka is still experiencing weeks-long shortages of food, petrol, and other necessities. This is the country’s greatest economic crisis in more than 70 years.
According to Kanchana Wijesekera, the energy minister, the nation barely had enough gasoline to last under normal demand for less than a day.
Sales of gasoline and diesel for non-essential cars were halted last week by the government in an effort to conserve its depleting fuel supplies.
To combat the nation’s skyrocketing cost of living, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka increased its benchmark interest rates by one percentage point on Thursday.
The deposit rate rose to 14.5 percent, the highest level in 21 years, while the lending rate went to 15.5 percent.
It occurs at a time when food prices have increased by more than 80%, driving annual inflation to a record high of 54.6 percent in June.
A day earlier, on Wednesday, hundreds of protestors congregated close to the parliament building in Colombo as they started what they referred to as the “final push” to topple Mr. Rajapaksa’s administration.
Because of the country’s ongoing civil upheaval, the UK this week reiterated its recommendation against all but necessary travel to Sri Lanka.
Visitors could experience “demonstrations, blockages, and violent turmoil at short notice,” the Foreign Office said.
According to the Association of British Insurers, traveling to nations against Foreign Office advice could result in the cancellation of travel insurance.