, 2022-07-12 14:16:47,
The incident kicked off a diplomatic row on the tropical island south of India, which is heavily dependent on Russia for tourist income and, of late, for fuel. First, Aeroflot halted all flights to the island, blocking the flow of leisure travelers. Then, in private talks, according to a European official familiar with what took place, Moscow threatened to cut off energy deliveries as well — something that would have worsened an economic crisis that was already causing food and fuel shortages and widespread unrest.
Within days, the court, acting after a request from the government, issued a new ruling clearing the jet to fly, and it left for Russia, where it now flies regularly between Moscow and Kyrgyzstan.
For Sri Lanka, the battle over the Irish-owned airliner was just a blip in a long string of developments that last week led to chaos as protesters stormed the homes of the president and prime minister, forcing them both to promise to resign. But for Russia, it was a victory in a hard fought campaign against a four-month Western sanctions campaign, demonstrating the lengths Moscow is willing to go to defend its economy, particularly in vulnerable nations where it has leverage.
There are signs that the sanctions are starting to bite. Russian government statistics show that auto production plummeted by 96.7 percent in May compared with a year ago, threatening a sector that employs 600,000. Economists say that reflects a broad collapse in manufacturing as foreign-owned factories close and domestic ones struggle to import Western components.
Hundreds of foreign companies have ceased operations in Russia, inflation is running at 16 percent and the country’s gross domestic product will contract by 8.5 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund predicts. Economists say Russia’s long-term prospects remain dire. “The potential for the decline is far from exhausted,” Sergey Aleksashenko, a former top official in Russia’s Finance Ministry and central bank, who now lives in the United States,…
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