• Sri Lanka's president asked Vladimir Putin for help to import fuel after supplies ran out.
  • Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he had a "productive" conversation with the Russian president on Wednesday.
  • Sri Lanka's economic crisis is deepening after the prime minister said the country was "bankrupt".

Sri Lanka's president has asked Vladimir Putin for help importing fuel as the country's economic crisis deepens. 

Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a tweet on Wednesday that he had a "very productive" phone call with the Russian president in which he asked for credit support. Sri Lanka has already made purchases of Russian oil.

Protesters gathered near the parliament building in the capital, Colombo, on Wednesday calling on Rajapaksa to resign. Inflation hit a record 54.6% in June while food prices have nearly doubled.

The president's request comes after prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka was "bankrupt" on Tuesday, two days after the energy minister, Kanchana Wijesekera, said it had less than a day's worth of fuel left.

Sri Lanka's foreign currency reserves have been exhausted after it defaulted on its debts for the first time in May, meaning the country has struggled to pay for fuel imports.

Sri Lankans have been queueing for gas for days and the government has encouraged working from home to save fuel, Insider has previously reported. 

Rickshaw drivers queue for fuel in Colombo on Wednesday. Foto: AFP/Getty Images

Rajapaksa also said he asked Putin to restart operations of Russia's national carrier, Aeroflot, in Sri Lanka. 

"We unanimously agreed that strengthening bilateral relations in sectors such as tourism, trade & culture was paramount in reinforcing the friendship our two nations share," he tweeted.

The request comes as SriLankan Airlines was preparing to cancel a host of flights due to the lack of fuel, the Sri Lankan Daily Mirror reported. The airline is making alternate arrangements, such as bringing in jet fuel from India. 

Sri Lanka is also holding talks with the International Monetary Fund to try to save its economy and is in discussions with India, Japan, and China about forming an aid consortium, Insider previously reported.

Western nations have shunned Russian energy imports amid sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, but other nations such as China and India have been snapping up Russian oil at discount prices.

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