Putin's Anger Towards Ranil.!

-By A Special Correspondent

(Lanka-e-News -28.Feb.2024, 5.40 PM) In a sudden turn of events, a diplomatic storm brews between Russia and Sri Lanka, triggered by a controversial circular issued by the Immigration and Emigration Department. The directive, demanding the departure of long-term Russian and Ukrainian tourists within a mere 14 days, has sparked concerns over its legality and potential diplomatic fallout. Amidst growing tensions, questions arise regarding the alleged involvement of the Russian Ambassador in pressuring President Ranil Wickremesinghe to retract the directive immediately.

President Wickremesinghe wasted no time in responding to the escalating situation, swiftly ordering an investigation into the origins and motives behind the circular. The move aims to preempt any further strain in diplomatic relations between the two nations, emphasizing Sri Lanka's commitment to maintaining cordial ties with Russia.

The controversy stems from recent revelations in the local media regarding the involvement of Russian tourists in illicit activities, particularly prostitution and unregistered businesses, predominantly in southern Sri Lanka. These reports have raised alarms within the government, prompting the Immigration Department to take action by issuing a letter to the Tourism Ministry Secretary, urging the expulsion of long-term Russian and Ukrainian tourists by March 7.

Key hotspots..

Key hotspots identified by authorities include Weligama and Arugam Bay, where a surge in Russian-run businesses has been observed. These establishments reportedly discriminate against locals, with strict bans on entry for non-white individuals. Such businesses range from bars and restaurants to scooter and tuk-tuk rental services, exacerbating tensions within the local community.

Furthermore, reports indicate complicity from certain hotels and restaurants in facilitating Russian prostitution, exacerbating social unrest and criminal activity in the affected areas. Allegations of bribery involving immigration officials have also surfaced, suggesting systemic corruption within the tourism sector.

Despite these setbacks, Russia remains a vital market for Sri Lanka's tourism industry. However, the recent developments threaten to undermine bilateral relations, prompting urgent action from President Wickremesinghe to address the situation effectively.

Adding complexity to the situation...

Adding complexity to the situation is the involvement of Udayanga Weeratunga, Sri Lanka's former Ambassador to Ukraine and Russia. Weeratunga's controversial tenure and alleged connections raise suspicions about potential ulterior motives behind the Immigration Department's directive. Despite his past troubles, Weeratunga is credited with revitalizing Sri Lanka's tourism sector during challenging times, earning him both praise and scrutiny from various quarters.

As the investigation unfolds, all eyes are on President Wickremesinghe and his administration to navigate through this diplomatic crisis with tact and transparency. The outcome of this ordeal will not only shape Sri Lanka's relations with Russia but also underscore the challenges of maintaining integrity and accountability within the tourism industry. In the face of mounting pressure, the stakes are high for all parties involved as they seek a resolution to the brewing diplomatic storm.

-By A Special Correspondent

by     (2024-02-28 12:11:56)

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