- Sri Lankan embassy in Türkiye awaits official confirmation from Ukraine on deaths
- Ukrainian defence authorities consider such persons as missing in action until their remains are recovered
By Kelum Bandara
In the wake of reports about three Sri Lankan ex-military personnel dying in Ukraine in the war with Russia, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said Sri Lanka, as a country, had made every possible effort to prevent recruits through local agents.
The minister said the Sri Lankan security authorities previously got wind of a local agent recruiting mercenaries to fight on behalf of Ukraine against Russia, and it was dealt with. However, the minister said the government could not exercise any control over any national who left the country to enter Ukraine for fighting.
Russia has not yet registered any protest with Sri Lanka over the involvement of Sri Lankans.
Three former members of the Sri Lankan military, including Captain Ranish Hewage, who was the commander of the First Special Forces of The International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine, or the Ukrainian Foreign Legion, were killed on Monday in a Russian military attack.
Reports said that Captain Hewage and his fellow two Sri Lankan former military personnel were killed in Bakhmut, a city in Ukraine, during a rescue operation.
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Türkiye which is concurrently accredited to Ukraine is aware of the deaths of these Sri Lankans and awaits official confirmation from the Ukrainian defence authorities.
The embassy said the Ukrainian defence authorities consider such persons as missing in action until their remains are recovered.