Sri Lanka: Duo Arrested for Smuggling Mercenaries to Russia and Ukraine

The investigation, conducted by the investigative officers, revealed that over 500 retired military personnel were dispatched to Russia as mercenaries under Ranawaka's leadership.

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War in Ukraine [ File Photo]

Editors’ Note: This article has been updated to incorporate new information provided by law enforcement authorities. Contrary to previous reports, the individual initially identified as Major General Prasanna Ranawaka is revealed to be retired Major General Nethakandure Arachchilage Ranaraja Ranawaka, who allegedly assumed the identity of Major General Prasanna Ranawaka. This revelation underscores the intricate nature of the investigation, where the accused reportedly used false pretenses to facilitate human trafficking activities.

Last night, the Criminal Investigation Department made a significant breakthrough in dismantling an organized smuggling network that dispatched retired Sri Lankan Army personnel to serve as mercenaries in the Russian and Ukrainian Armies. The arrested individuals have been identified as retired Major General Ranawaka, who allegedly spearheaded the operation, and Sergeant Major Wijesinghe, both residents of Kurunegala.

According to information disclosed by the Criminal Investigation Department, this high-ranking retired army officer, operated from his residence at Lake Road, Kurunegala. The investigation, conducted by the investigative officers, revealed that over 500 retired military personnel were dispatched to Russia and Ukraine as mercenaries under Ranawaka’s leadership. Shockingly, among these personnel, six individuals lost their lives, and more than 25 sustained injuries.

It has been further disclosed that the suspects were involved in sending approximately 150 individuals to Russia, who are currently believed to be detained in a training camp. The arrested individuals will be presented in court today to face charges related to their involvement in the illicit smuggling of mercenaries.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org


  1. I want to reiterate that the web article “Sri Lanka: Duo Arrested for Smuggling Mercenaries to Russia and Ukraine” contains wrong information. You have grossly published that Major General Prasanna Ranawaka (Rtd) has been involved in the latter racket. This is not the truth and incorrect information. Major General Prasanna Ranawaka is a highly respected veteran and an unsung hero. He has contributed his best during the service, disregarding his own life. He has neither been involved in any illegal activity nor arrested. How dare your website disgrace the good name of a law-abiding citizen of this country? What authority do you have to do so? Even you have included his photographs. Keep aside the legal aspect. Don’t you have a tiny bit of ethics?

    This web article demonstrates the need for regulation of social media and online pages for the good of this country’s law-abiding citizens.

    The Lanka Guardian web page says it is run by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens, including journalists, activists, academics, and retired civil servants. Is this your concern or professionalism? To publish loose information or gossip without establishing the facts? Feeding misinformation to the general public?
    You do not need a group to do that, but one nut is enough to publish all loose information online. On the other hand, your group seems to include experts from many fields. If so, there is no need to be surprised by the misery our people endure because of such a group of irresponsible idiots handling social aspects of the country. Mr. Editor and the group, you are no better than any other “media vendors” selling dirt and filth to count the views to earn a living.
    Due to the shocking false news, I find it difficult to express myself. However, this is the second comment I am making today. You would probably publish this, at least.
    Lanka Guardian, Major General Prasanna Ranawaka deserves a public apology from your worthless gossip site.

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