Sri Lanka probes ex-envoy over alleged Ukraine arms deals
Sri Lanka is investigating its former ambassador to Russia following a media report that he helped arm pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine, the foreign minister said Sunday.
Colombo: Sri Lanka is investigating its former ambassador to Russia following a media report that he helped arm pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine, the foreign minister said Sunday.
The Colombo-based Sunday Times said the Ukraine government has lodged a formal complaint with Colombo detailing former ambassador Udayanga Weeratunga`s alleged arms dealings with the rebels.
"We will conduct a full investigation into this matter," Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told the newspaper.
Samaraweera confirmed his comments in a text message to AFP but did not give details. The government recalled Weeratunga soon after President Maithripala Sirisena came to power in January elections.
Weeratunga, a close relative of defeated former long-time president Mahinda Rajapakse, operated a restaurant in the Ukrainian capital Kiev before he was appointed Sri Lanka`s ambassador to Moscow nine years ago, the paper added.
Weeratunga has not spoken about the allegations and could not be contacted on Sunday for comment.
The Sunday Times did not give details of Weeratunga`s alleged involvement in weapons sales.
A shaky truce is in force in the conflict in Ukraine`s rebel-held east which has claimed more than 6,000 lives in 11 months.
Kiev and the West accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of supporting the insurgency with troops, tanks and heavy weapons -- accusations he denies.