ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has decided to permit free visa extensions to Ukrainian and Russian tourists currently holidaying in the island nation up to two months, as fighting continues in the Eastern European country amid talks.
Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal by Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga to allow the free extension, the cabinet office said Tuesday (01) morning.
The extension will apply to 11,463 Russians and 3,993 Ukrainians who are currently in Sri Lanka.
Ukrainian tourists in Sri Lanka held a protest Monday (28) morning to show the world the “real beastly face of Putin’s dictatorship”.
Protestors gathered outside the Russian embassy in Colombo asked the island nation’s government and its people, who had lived through their own war, for support in Ukraine’s “struggle for freedom”
Monday’s protest was a series of activities organisd by Ukranians holidaying in Sri Lanka ever since Putin declared war last Thursday (24). Most recently, a group of tourists held a silent vigil held in the Galle Fort, a popular tourist destination in the island’s south.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected tourism in the island nation, with sources saying a majority of new arrivals to Sri Lanka from different countries have been cancelled or postponed.
The South Asian nation is also making efforts to evacuate 40 Sri Lankan nationals from Ukraine which has been invaded by Russia, via Poland. According to the Foreign Ministry, the Sri Lanka embassy in Moscow was also in touch with 1,600 nationals in neighbouring Belarus.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s rupee has further appreciated against the Ruble to 1.96 from 2.36 Friday and 2.66 Thursday.