Seven Lankans entered Ukraine paying over Rs. 1 Mn | Daily News

Seven Lankans entered Ukraine paying over Rs. 1 Mn

Seven individuals are not students, one female and six males from Northern Province

A senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the seven Sri Lankans in Ukraine who were under the custody of Russian troops are illegal migrants and they are refusing to come back.

Speaking to the Daily News, the official pointed out that the seven persons are not students. Once the internal investigations are completed, the Ukrainian Government will facilitate their return to Sri Lanka, he said.

The Honorary Consulate General in Ukraine will be meeting the group today (20).

“They have gone through a human smuggling agent in January without knowing where their destination is going to be. They have come to Ukraine, they don’t know at which airport they landed. Then they have been taken in a vehicle for so many days.

 Then once they reached the present location, this illegal agent arranged for them to work in a factory until they leave for Europe. They are not students. This area where they were positioned is very close to the Russian border and the ongoing conflict.”

He further said, “This is the case for most Sri Lankan coming from Jaffna North to reach Europe illegally. They cross Ukrainian borders. First they come to Moscow and then they cross through Ukraine illegally and wait to go to the European border. From Hungary, Poland and Slovakia there are borders to Europe.”

“These seven people came in January, then the war broke, they were in a factory close to the Russian border. This agent has not given them any communication device. They have seen their passport only at the Sri Lankan airport. They have not seen anything. Then when war started, they did not have any communication equipment to communicate with their families or the embassy. That is why they were stuck there. That is why they stayed in the factory. Then Russians have sheltered them until March. After being found by the Ukrainian forces, the Sri Lankans were given shelter at a hostel at a conflict free area. There are some investigations going on as to how they came into the country and what happened when they were with the Russians.”

The official pointed out that the identified seven Sri Lankans, one female and six males are all from the Northern Province. They are all Tamil nationals, residents from Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Uddappuwa, Vavuniya and Mannar.

“At the moment, they are given shelter, food and other facilities. Their health conditions are normal. They have paid around one million for their journey. They are clueless as to where they are going. If this group wants to return to Sri Lanka, once the internal investigations are completed, the Ukrainian Government will release them,” he noted.

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