Cash-strapped Sri Lanka is buying Russian oil to ease shortages and could face a European embargo

Sri Lanka could soon face European sanctions for taking delivery of Russian oil on Saturday, to restart operations at the country’s only oil refinery, since it was closed in March following the crisis. foreign exchange in Sri Lanka, which has left the government unable to finance crude imports.

The Sapugaskanda oil refinery, built in Iran for more than five decades, is resuming operations, as Sri Lanka’s inflation rate climbs to 33.8% in April 2022, partly due to fuel shortages.


The island nation is suffering its worst economic collapse since independence, with shortages of fuel and other vital goods making life miserable for its 22 million people.

The delivery of Russian crude had been waiting for more than a month off the port of the capital Colombo as the country was unable to raise $75 million to pay for it, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

Colombo is also in talks with Moscow to arrange direct supplies of crude oil, coal, diesel and gasoline despite US sanctions on Russian banks and diplomatic outcry over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I made an official request to the Russian ambassador for a direct supply of Russian oil,” Wijesekera told reporters in Colombo.

Today also marks the 50th day of Galle Face protests demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Rajapaksa administration, which also forced Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign earlier this month in the face of the government’s handling of a worsening economic crisis.

[ With inputs from AFP]


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