Conflicts & War

Western sanctions force Sri Lanka to cancel Russia flights

Colombo, Mar 28 (EFE).- The state-run national carrier of Sri Lanka Monday suspended its flights to Russia with immediate effect due to the western sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The SriLankan Airlines took the step after insurers from the United States and the United Kingdom removed cover for the flights operating to Russia and difficulties in receiving transactions.

“There are issues with money transactions outside Russia and insurers from the US and the UK have informed our lessors that the insurance covers for flights to Russia have been removed,” a SriLankan official told EFE.

The airlines, in a statement, said the decision was “due to operational restrictions that are outside of (its) control.”

“The restrictions are in the form of international financial and aircraft insurance limits which have been imposed on Russia due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and directly impact SriLankan Airlines’ flight operations to Russia,” the airline said in the statement.

SriLankan Airlines would cease operations to Moscow until further notice, it said.

“SriLankan will continue to monitor the situation in Russia, and hopes to restart operations once conditions improve.”

Foreign visitors from Russia topped the list of tourists to Sri Lanka since the government opened the country for tourists in 2020 end.

The latest move is likely to hit the country’s reviving tourism industry which has seen some recovery.

One-fifth of the 268,340 tourists who visited the island nation, popular for its beaches and diverse nature, from December to February were Russians and Ukrainians.

The airlines started direct flights to Moscow in July last year and had operated two weekly flights between Colombo and Moscow. EFE


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