Sri Lanka cancels visas for thousands of Russian fugitives

Sri Lanka cancels visas for thousands of Russian fugitives

Ukrinform
The Sri Lankan authorities intend to cancel visas for hundreds of thousands of Russians and a smaller number of Ukrainians who have been staying in the country since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops.

According to Ukrinform, this was reported by the Independent.

Employees of the migration service informed the citizens of the Russian Federation and Ukraine that they should leave the country within the next two weeks - starting on February 23.

After the start of Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine, more than 288,000 Russians and about 20,000 Ukrainians arrived in Sri Lanka. However, it is not known how many of them extended their stay in the country properly.

The Ministry of Tourism of Sri Lanka said that the agency receives complaints about some Russian citizens: they run unregistered businesses in the southern part of Sri Lanka.

However, the office of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe ordered to investigate the reports received by the Ministry of Tourism, apparently trying to prevent possible "diplomatic tensions".

The president's office said that the notices to leave the country were issued without prior government approval, and the government has not yet officially decided to cancel the visa extensions for these categories of tourists.

The exact number of tourists who have extended their stay beyond the 30-day duration of their tourist visa remains unclear.

Read also: Czech President allows 20 citizens to join AFU

As noted, a scandal has recently erupted in the country over Russian businesses that pursue a "whites only" policy, which has caused a negative reaction on social media. Among such businesses are bars, restaurants, water sports companies or vehicle rental services.

In an effort to restore tourism and recover from the worst economic crisis since 2022, Sri Lanka has begun to grant 30-day visas on arrival and offer extensions of up to six months.

As reported, immediately after Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year, the Czech government decided to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens, except in humanitarian cases. When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced partial mobilization in the country last September, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said that Russians fleeing the country to avoid mobilization did not meet the conditions for a humanitarian visa in the Czech Republic.

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