Sri Lankans offer food and accommodation to stranded Ukrainians


By Easwaran Rutnam

There is an outpouring of support for Ukrainians stranded in Sri Lanka, with free accommodation and food offered by several Sri Lankans and others.

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga told the Daily Mirror that the Cabinet will decide today whether to offer free visa extensions to stranded Ukrainians or whether they will have to pay a fee.

Ukrainians stranded in Sri Lanka following the invasion of their country by Russian troops have appealed for accommodation until the fighting is over and flights to Ukraine resume.

Facebook has now been inundated with free accommodation and food offers from some hotels and resorts as well as individuals.

Ambewela Farm posted a notice saying it was offering its cottage to stranded Ukrainians for free.

The owners of a 5-bedroom villa in Kalutara also posted a message on Facebook saying their villa is open for free to Ukrainians stranded in the area.

The Danish Villa in Arugam Bay also posted a message offering free accommodation to all Ukrainians stranded in Sri Lanka.

Several people across the country also posted Facebook posts offering food and accommodation to Ukrainians stranded in Sri Lanka.

Contacted by the Daily Mirror, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said the government had so far not decided to offer accommodation to stranded Ukrainians.

He said that any person or institution can provide housing for Ukrainians if they wish.

Ranatunga said the Cabinet will decide today whether to extend the visas of stranded Ukrainians for free or for a fee.

Meanwhile, authorities are also anticipating asylum applications from some of the stranded Ukrainians who do not wish to return even after the war is over.

Asylum claims are likely to be lodged with local UN agencies, with most having to seek protection in a Western country.

Ukrainians staged protests in Colombo and Galle against the Russian invasion.

A similar protest was called in front of the Russian Embassy in Colombo today (Monday). (Courtesy of the Daily Mirror)

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