Russia accused of looting Ukrainian steel

Russia is looting $600m worth of steel from plants and ports in Ukraine, according to the boss of Ukraine’s largest steel firm Metinvest.

 

The firm owns the Azovstal plant that became the last holdout of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians during the devastation of the city of Mariupol.

 

Chief executive Yuriy Ryzhenkov said steel was being transferred to Russia and sold on, some of which had been bound for customers in the UK.

 

The Kremlin has not commented.

 

Metinvest is headquartered in Mariupol, a centre for trade and manufacturing, which after almost three months of relentless assault, fell to Russia in May.

 

Mr Ryzhenkov said 300 employees and 200 employees’ relatives were killed in the assault on the Azovstal plant, which together with its sister plant Ilyich accounted for 40% of all Ukraine steel production.

 

Thousands of tonnes of steel had been paid for by European customers, including some in the UK.

 

He said that public sources and the company’s own informants reported the steel was being transferred to Russia and sold in internal markets or to countries in Africa and Asia.

 

“What they’re doing is basically looting. They’re stealing not only our products, but also some of those products already belong to the European customers. So basically, they’re not only stealing from us, they’re stealing from the Europeans as well,” Mr Ryzhenkov told the BBC.

 

He said the company was documenting as much of the theft as possible and was preparing to take future legal action.

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