16 Sri Lankan Citizens Killed Fighting Russia-Ukraine War

Wed May 15 2024
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COLOMBO: At least 16 Sri Lankan mercenaries have been killed fighting in the war between Russia and Ukraine, as confirmed by the island nation’s deputy defense minister on Wednesday. Over the past two years, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed in the war, prompting Moscow to seek additional troops globally.
Since last year, individuals from Sri Lanka’s neighboring countries, such as India and Nepal, have also volunteered to join the conflict, resulting in several documented combat fatalities from both nations.
In response, Sri Lanka has initiated an inquiry into the recruitment of its citizens for the conflict, identifying the involvement of 288 retired soldiers. The deputy defense minister revealed that 16 Sri Lankans have been confirmed dead, though the specific side they were fighting for remains undisclosed.
However, a ruling party lawmaker indicated that many were recruited to support the Russian army, lured by promises of high wages and non-combat roles, which turned out to be false.
Characterizing the recruitment as a form of human trafficking, the Sri Lankan government has urged military personnel to avoid falling victim to such schemes. Efforts are underway to collaborate with Ukrainian and Russian authorities to locate and repatriate Sri Lankans from both countries safely.
“This is a sensitive matter,” emphasized the deputy defense minister, highlighting the importance of maintaining diplomatic relations with both Russia and Ukraine.

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