Sri Lankan President asks Putin to help buy fuel

COLOMBO:  Sri Lankan Presidente  Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asked Vladimir Putin, to assist the cash-strapped island nation in purchasing petroleum as it goes through its worst economic crisis since achieving independence in 1948.

On Wednesday, Rajapaksa stated on Twitter: "had a fruitful telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. I thanked him for all the help his government had provided in the past to overcome obstacles, and I asked for a credit offer to help Sri Lanka import petroleum to overcome the current economic crisis." In his tweet, the President stated that he had also asked the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot to resume flights to the island nation of Sri Lanka after it had halted those last month.
He said, "We unanimously agreed that enhancing bilateral ties in areas like tourism, trade, and culture was essential to bolstering the affinity our two nations enjoy.

Rajapaksa's plea for assistance came after Kanchana Wijesekera, the energy minister, issued a dire warning on Sunday, claiming that there was just enough petrol left in the country to last for less than a day under normal demand.

In an effort to protect its depleting fuel supplies, officials this week suspended sales of petrol and diesel for non-essential cars, according to the BBC. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka increased its benchmark interest rates by one percentage point on Thursday in a bid to combat the nation's skyrocketing cost of living.  The lending rate was increased to 15.5 percent, while the deposit rate was hiked to 14.5 percent, the highest in 21 years.

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