Open to buying crude from Russia – PM

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Sri Lanka may be compelled to buy more oil from Russia as the island nation hunts desperately for fuel amid an unprecedented economic crisis, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Saturday(11) in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press.

The Premier said he would first look to other sources but would be open to buying more crude oil from Russia.

Wickremesinghe said, he was willing to accept more financial help from China, despite his country’s mounting debt owed to China and acknowledged that Sri Lanka’s current situation was of “its own making”. He said the war in Ukraine is making it even worse. The Premier added that dire food shortages could continue until 2024. He also said Russia had offered wheat to Sri Lanka.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, global oil prices have skyrocketed. While the US and its allies are trying to cut financial flows supporting the war effort, Russia is offering its oil at a low price, making it extremely enticing to a number of countries.

“If we can get from any other sources, we will get from there. But we are trying to get oil and coal from the country’s traditional suppliers in the Middle East. If it does not work we may have to go to Russia again,” he said.

Speaking on Chinese loans taken for infrastructure projects that have failed to generate profit, the Prime Minister said that it was necessary to identify projects that we need for economic recovery and take loans for projects of this nature, whether it be from China or from anyone else.

By Sahan Tennekoon