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Russia summons Sri Lankan ambassador, demanding early return of plane

Sputnik quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that on June 3, it summoned Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Russia Janitha Abeywickrama Liyanage to protest the country’s seizure of an Aeroflot plane at Bandaranaike airport.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the above decision of the Sri Lankan judicial authorities is “baseless”. The Airbus A330-300 bearing number SU289 was forced to cancel its scheduled schedule from Colombo – Sri Lanka to Moscow – Russia on June 2.

“We have called on the Sri Lankan side to resolve this issue in a short time in order to avoid having a negative impact on the traditionally friendly bilateral relations,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, Aeroflot announced that it will suspend commercial flights to Sri Lanka for the time being. The airline added that passengers who purchased tickets on flight SU289 will be transported back to Moscow on two days, June 4 and June 5.

Russia summons Sri Lanka's ambassador, demanding early return of plane - Photo 1.

An Airbus A330-300 of Aeroflot at Vladivostok airport (Russia). Photo: Wikimedia

Earlier, local newspaper News First reported that Sri Lankan authorities banned the Airbus A330-300 bearing number SU289 from leaving the country until June 16. The Colombo High Court of Commerce issued an “arrest warrant for the Aeroflot aircraft” in response to a complaint filed by Celestial Aviation Trading Limited (Ireland) – which is affiliated with the aircraft lessor GECAS (Ireland).

Aeroflot confirmed the above information and said that a trial on the release of the aircraft mentioned above will be held on June 8.

Russian tour operator Intourist told reporters that many of the Russians on board the plane had been accommodated at a nearby hotel. According to the Airfleets portal, the plane seized in Sri Lanka was registered in Russia at the end of April this year and was previously registered in Bermuda.

Aeroflot currently has 12 Airbus A330 aircraft. In May, the airline bought eight planes from foreign owners.

After Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia for its “special military operation” in Ukraine, the lessors demanded that Moscow return the leased planes because of concerns about possible measures. secondary sanctions.

Several countries have closed their airspace to Russian planes and threatened to seize planes registered and leased abroad.

Pham Nghia

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