Colombo to extend visa for 4,000 Ukrainian tourists stranded in Sri Lanka
Posted on February 28th, 2022

by Melani Manel Perera Courtesy Asia News

Because of war, Ukrainian holiday makers cannot leave the island nation. Today the Sri Lankan government will discuss the possibility of providing financial assistance and extending visas. In recent days, protests broke out in front of the Russian embassy.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – The Sri Lankan government will consider providing financial assistance and extending visas for thousands of Ukrainian tourists stranded during their vacations by the war that broke out in their country.

Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that he will make such a proposal at today’s cabinet meeting. The Foreign Ministry and the Department of Immigration and Emigration are already holding talks on the matter,” Ranatunga noted.

According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, some 4,000 Ukrainian tourists and 11,500 Russian tourists are in the country. Some staged protests yesterday on the beaches in Galle and Mirissa in the country’s Southern Province.

“We came to Sri Lanka for a vacation. Now we are helpless,” one woman told the media. “I don’t understand why the world is silent. This can happen not only to us but to everyone if the world does not act quickly,” she added.

We are having sleepless nights,” said a tearful young woman, worried about her mother and sister, stranded by Russian bombing in two different parts of Ukraine.

A friend explained that they had come to Sri Lanka for a short vacation, but now hade no idea when they would be able to go home. It would be great if the Sri Lankans could help us survive until we leave, as our money is running out,” she added.

After Putin’s attack, Ukrainians in Sri Lanka demonstrated in front of the Russian embassy in Colombo, urging Russian citizens “not to be silent”.

The European Union delegation in Sri Lanka, in agreement with the embassies of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania, condemned the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian armed forces.

“Russia’s recent actions with regard to Ukraine have been a blatant breach of the UN Charter and the Minsk Agreements,” they said in a statement.

The UN Charter prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations,” it went on to say.

“This poses a serious threat to the rules-based international order, which we have together vowed to stand up for around the world, including the Indo-Pacific region.”

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