June 30, 2022

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Sri Lanka may have to buy more Russian oil: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka may have to buy more Russian oil: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in an interview with the Associated Press news agency on Saturday, said he would first look for other sources, but would be open to buying more crude from Moscow.

The country is in the midst of the worst financial crisis in seven decades and is struggling with dollars to pay for important imports including food, fuel and medicine.

Long queues, sometimes kilometers in length, are a common sight near petrol stations across the country, which have also been hit by blackouts.

While Washington and its allies are trying to reduce support for financial flows Moscow’s war effort, Russia offers its crude at a significant discount, which makes it very attractive to a number of countries.

Wickremesinghe, who is also Sri Lanka’s finance minister, has indicated that he is willing to accept more financial assistance from China, despite the island nation’s growing debt.

Sri Lanka’s current predicament is of its own making, and the war in Ukraine is making matters worse, he said, adding that severe food shortages could continue until 2024.

He said that Russia also offered wheat to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka was also trying to obtain oil and coal from its traditional suppliers in the Middle East.

Officials are negotiating with private suppliers, but Wickremesinghe said one of the problems they face is that “there is a lot of oil circulating that can be unofficially re-sourced to Iran or to Russia.”

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, global oil prices have skyrocketed.

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