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Circular on Long Staying Tourists Russian Embassy awaits findings by Presidential Probe

27 Feb 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • Says won’t interfere in domestic affairs of Sri Lanka, unlike other countries



By Kelum Bandara 

In the wake of reports that President Ranil Wickremesinghe   ordering an immediate investigation into the circular asking  overstaying Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave within 14 days,  the Russian Embassy in Colombo said it awaits the results of the probe  directed by the President.  

Asserting that there is no official information as of now,  an embassy spokesman said it is an internal affair of Sri Lanka and  Russia, unlike other countries, will not interfere in them.   

In the meantime, the embassy, in one of its press releases  issued earlier, said it requests all its citizens staying in Sri Lanka  for tourism or residing permanently to strictly follow Sri Lankan  laws and customs. 

Earlier, the circular was issued by the Department of  Immigration and Emigration saying that Ukrainian and Russian nationals  living in Sri Lanka for a long term should leave within 14 days.   

The circular said that Ukrainians and Russians who were  affected by the stoppage of flights to their home countries after the  outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war were allowed to remain in Sri Lanka  since February 28, 2022, a full two years, based on free visa extensions  and without the imposition of penalties for expired tourist visas.  

However, the President ordered to revoke it. He also  ordered a probe into it. Sri Lanka currently depends on Russia as one  of its source markets for tourism. There are direct flights operating  from Russia bringing 
in tourists.