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Sri Lankan Tri-Forces Instructed Not to Join Russian or Ukrainian Forces Illegally, Ministry of Defence Announces

The Ministry of Defence has issued a directive to all members of the Sri Lankan tri-forces, instructing them not to engage in illegal means by joining either the Russian or Ukrainian forces. This announcement follows recent foreign media reports regarding Sri Lankan soldiers allegedly participating in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Responding to these reports, the Defence Ministry clarified that while there have been disclosures indicating the involvement of Sri Lankan security force members with the Russian forces, the Ministry itself has no association with such activities. Furthermore, the Ministry stated that it has not received any information through the embassies regarding the deaths of two Sri Lankan army soldiers in Russia during the conflict.

Highlighting the absence of any formal agreement between the Sri Lankan and Russian armies to deploy Sri Lankan military personnel in Russia, the Ministry expressed concern that such incidents could tarnish the country’s reputation. It emphasized that members of the Sri Lankan military have been explicitly instructed not to engage in illegal activities by joining the Russian army.

In a related development from December 2023, it was reported that three Sri Lankan mercenaries were killed in a Russian attack while serving in the Ukrainian military.

However, a recent report from Al Jazeera, quoting several Sri Lankans residing in Russia, shed light on the presence of hundreds of Sri Lankans currently serving with the Russian military in Ukraine. Many of these individuals, enticed by Russia’s offer of monthly salaries up to $3,000 and the prospect of Russian citizenship, have joined combat operations. The report further highlighted that retired Sri Lankan soldiers are also actively seeking to enlist in the Russian army, willing to endure the risks posed by Ukrainian forces in exchange for financial support amid challenging economic conditions in Sri Lanka. Source –

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