Sri Lanka called on Russian leader Vladimir Putin to help his country import fuel as it faces its worst economic crisis in seven decades.
“Had a very productive telecon with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. While thanking him for all the support extended by his govt to overcome the challenges of the past, I requested an offer of credit support to import fuel to #lka in defeating the current econ challenges,” Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.
Had a very productive telecon with the #Russia President, Vladimir Putin. While thanking him for all the support extended by his gvt to overcome the challenges of the past, I requested an offer of credit support to import fuel to #lka in defeating the current econ challenges.
— Gotabaya Rajapaksa (@GotabayaR) July 6, 2022
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Sri Lanka has been struggling to import even essentials, leading to severe shortages of medicine, food and fuel. The island nation has already bought oil from Russia to tide it over the crisis, and the government has indicated it is willing to make further purchases.
“We unanimously agreed that strengthening bilateral relations in sectors such as tourism, trade & culture was paramount in reinforcing the friendship of our two nations share,” Rajapaksa noted.
Last June, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced that the South Asian nation’s economy has “collapsed” after months of shortages of food, fuel, and electricity.
Wickremesinghe told parliament his country faces “a far more serious situation” than the shortages alone, and he warned of “a possible fall to rock bottom.” “Our economy has completely collapsed,” he said.
His comments appeared intended to emphasise to critics and opposition lawmakers that he has inherited a difficult task that cannot be fixed quickly.
“He’s setting expectations really, really low,” said Anit Mukherjee, a policy fellow and economist at the Center for Global Development in Washington.